April 2019

Man avoids jail after failing to realise paying a 17-year-old to send him sexual photos is an offence

A Bracknell man has avoided a jail sentence after failing to realise it’s an offence to pay a 17-year-old girl to send him indecent images.

Adam Maxwell, of Brownridge Crescent, Bracknell, met a 17-year-old girl on Facebook and asked her to send him sexual photos in return for payments.

The 28-year-old made more than 50 instalments to the teenager totalling to at least £1,300, he later shared the photos online.

The 17-year-old told her mother about what had been happening.

Charles Royle, prosecutor, said: “She only disclosed the matter to her mother because other people had got indecent images of her, which had been disclosed by Mr Maxwell. She was shown wearing knickers and a bra.”

Mr Maxwell was arrested, after harassing the girl with 50 messages a day asking for more photos.

Mr Charles, added: “Mr Maxwell requested how she should photograph herself and what the contents of the photographs and videos would be.

“This young woman, who was particularly vulnerable, initially felt special and flattered by his attentions, which he paid for.

“Eventually she felt manipulated, betrayed and felt rubbish.”

During the sentencing it was highlighted that Maxwell did not know it was a crime to ask the victim for photos.

Fedon Kazantzis, defending barrister, added: “He said in his police interview he thought she was 17.

“The reality set in when he was asked ‘do you know the age limit for indecent images?’

“It is not just the layperson who makes that mistake. A lot of experienced lawyers are surprised when they learn 17-year-olds cannot swap images. Mr Maxwell, being a man of good character, has accepted his guilt.”

Mr Maxwell had expressed in his police interview that he was ashamed of his actions.

Judge Nott, said: “ It is behaviour of which I think you are ashamed, you expressed that in your interview which must have been an uncomfortable experience for you.

“I do not consider that you have a risk of offending that requires me to impose an immediate custodial sentence, your risk can be well managed in the community and reduced to vanishing point.”

Mr Maxwell was given a seven-year restraining order preventing him from contacting the girl and was given a two-year community order.

The phone he had used to contact the 17-year-old, which the court heard had been factory re-set before police could seize it and search for images has since been destroyed.