March 2019

Coronation Street director spared jail after trying to groom 13-year-old girl in police sting

A Coronation Street director who tried to groom a 13-year-old girl in a police sting yesterday walked free from court.

Disgraced Tim Dowd, 66, asked the “victim” – an undercover cop – to send him indecent photos and take part in phone sex last January.

Dowd, who also worked on Emmerdale and Heartbeat, was arrested days later and lost his wife and high-profile job.

The grandad, of Harrogate, North Yorks, was convicted of four child sex offences at Leeds crown court after a three-day trial earlier this month.

Jurors were told how he met the officer on a site named Lycos Chat, before moving on to WhatsApp.

Using the profile Ollie Reed – after the actor Oliver Reed – he asked her whether she was 13 and said it was ‘not a problem’ for him.

The officer, who gave evidence anonymously, said she posed as a 13-year-old called Chantelle.

He asked for snaps of her breasts and phone sex before telling her to delete all the texts messages.

Dowd said he believed that the person he was talking to was an adult pretending to be underage as part of a sexual fantasy.

His barrister Max Saffman told the court: “He had lost his good name, his wife has left him, he has been forced to move out of the family home into a rented flat.

“One of his children has ostracised him, his successful career as a television director has now finished – there is no way back for him.”

Sparing him jail, Judge Rodney Jameson QC told him: “You are tormented by your own sexual desires.”

Dowd was sentenced to a two year community order.

He must also sign the sexual offenders register for five years and abide by a sexual harm prevention order.

Dowd was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,500.

February 2019

Married ex-Coronation Street director, 66, faces jail after being found guilty of trying to groom 13-year-old girl

A Coronation Street director has been found guilty of attempting to groom 13-year-old girl in a police sting.

Paedophile Tim Dowd, 66, who has also worked on Emmerdale, has been warned by a judge he could be jailed.

The disgraced TV worker asked what he believed to be a 13 year old girl in care but who was actually an undercover police officer to send him photographs of her breasts. 

The grandfather from Harrogate in North Yorkshire lost his wife and his job due to his arrest.

He showed no emotion as the jury of eight men and four women found him unanimously guilty of four child sex offences at Leeds Crown Court.

Judge Rodney Jameson QC granted Dowd bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. He must sign the sex offenders register and will be sentenced on 21 March.

Judge Jameson warned him: ‘You must understand that the fact I’m adjourning sentence and granting you bail is no indication what will happen. All options are open.’

Dowd encouraged the decoy to have phone sex with him via WhatsApp and boasted he enjoyed wife swapping with his friend.

Prosecutor Rupert Doswell told the trial that in January, last year, a West Yorkshire Police officer was employed online to identify child sex offenders.

She created a false profile in the Lycos Chat room called Chantelle13Cymru,  ‘indicating that her age was 13’ he said, adding: ‘The officer was posing as a 13 year old girl.’

At 11.49am on 12 January Dowd, using the profile Ollie Reed – after the actor Oliver Reed – contacted Chantelle and asked her whether she was 13 and saying that was ‘not a problem’ for him.

‘He asked her whether she had ever had phone sex and he asked her whether she would like to,’ said Mr Doswell.

Dowd asked for her phone number to carry on the conversation on WhatsApp and they continued further communication outside the chat room.

‘The defendant may have been concerned the chat room could be monitored and a mobile would be a much safer environment,’ said Mr Doswell. ‘From the outset he was overtly sexual.’

He asked whether she’d had sex and told her he had a owned his own house in Yorkshire. 

He asked her to delete all the texts and asked her to send a photo of her breasts.

Dowd telephoned Chantelle later that day and spoke to the undercover officer. He was ‘overtly sexual’ in the call and told her she had a sexy voice. 

Dowd asked whether any other girls at the care home would like to join in, but Chantelle told him all the others were younger, eight years old.

He also told her that he had a friend who he wanted to watch her have sex with once the man had finished with his wife.   

Over the next days he tried to encourage Chantelle to perform a sex act. Dowd was arrested at his then marital home in East Keswick, near Leeds, on 19 January.

Prior to his sacking he had directed more than 200 episodes of Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Heartbeat and The Royal, bringing him into contact with hundreds of child actors and actresses.

‘I have worked with hundreds of children throughout my career and helped them to be good actors,’ he said.

He said he had also worked on The Famous Five and Runaway Bay, filmed in Martinique, when the cast was all children. He said he received ‘not one complaint’ in his TV career.

Dowd has been a member of the online group Lycos Chat for three years and 10 months in January, last year, and had to profile name Ollie Reed – after the drunken actor Oliver Reed.

‘When I joined I was thinking of a lunch I had with him when asked to create the screen name,’ he said.

‘I used to go in there to find adult women who were interested in sharing some erotic conversations with me.

‘There were moments in my marriage when I felt quite lonely, I felt unloved. And I used to go on the sites to find women I could talk to.’

The jury heard Lycos Chat is based on a ship, with rooms including the bridge, gallery and deck. The longer you are on board the higher through the nautical based ranks you climb – Dowd had risen from ‘passenger’ to ‘ordinary seaman level 4’ by the time he was in contact with Chantelle.

Dowd told the jury that Lycos Chat was for 16 and over users only and many were looking to play out sexual fantasies.

When Chantelle told him she was a 13-year-old girl living in care he thought it was an adult woman playing out a fantasy.

‘I thought it was some woman who was interested in having some fantasy about a younger girl and an older man,’ he said.

Asked by his barrister why he talked sexually to Chantelle directly after she told him she was 13, he replied: ‘I thought that was her starting her role play – her being 13 and me being the older man.’

Dowd was found guilty of three counts of attempting to cause a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child for the purpose of sexual gratification between January 12 and 15, last year.