May 2009

Man jailed for trying to get Facebook girl, 14, to have sex

A MAN who tried to groom a 14-year-old girl he met on the Facebook website for sex has been jailed.

Jonathan Wilkins was trapped when the teenager told her mother – and a retired policemen posed online as a 15-year-old girl to snare him.

At Plymouth Crown Court Nick Lewin, prosecuting, said Wilkins had had several conversations with the 14-year-old, on or before August 28, 2007, with the aim of meeting her.

The 25 year-old told her he wanted to have sex with her, asked her to come to his home and offered to pay her taxi fares, the court heard.

He also committed a lewd act on his webcam and sent her indecent pictures of himself.

When the girl told him: “I am only 14”, Wilkins replied: “Age is only a number.”

Mr Lewin said that when the former policeman contacted Wilkins pretending to be a girl of 15, he received similar indecent invitations.

Wilkins, a mobile phone salesman with no previous convictions or cautions, denied two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one of engaging in a sexual act in the presence of a child and one of attempting to meet a child for sexual purposes.

He denied all the charges but was found guilty at a trial.

Malcolm Clarke, for Wilkins, said his client still maintained his innocence, but accepted he had a problem which needed to be addressed.

Trial judge Francis Gilbert QC told Wilkins, from Northumberland Terrace, West Hoe, but previously living in Mutley, that he had been convicted by the jury on very strong evidence.

He said: “You say the girl and her family have conspired to have you arrested, but I say the family did extremely well to trap you.”

He jailed Wilkins for a total of two years, ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and imposed a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Judge Gilbert also disqualified Wilkins from future unpaid or voluntary work with children or vulnerable adults and ordered the confiscation of his computer, mobile phone and six SIM cards.