October 2016

Online sex offender given suspended sentence

A sex offender who used the internet to incite a boy to perform sexual acts for him has received an eight-month suspended sentence.

Christopher James Howdle, 37, also performed sex acts while the child could see him and had sexual images of children on his computer, York Crown Court heard.

His barrister Andrew Semple said he lived an isolated life because of events in his childhood that could have led to him having a “distorted sense” of how to interact with others. So he had started using chat rooms and certain websites for registered users, one of which he used to commit the sexual offences.

“These websites are specifically geared towards people who wish to make contact with ‘like-minded’ people’,” he said.

The Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC told Howdle: ”It is no way to meet others. What you were doing was not only grossly offensive in the extreme to right thinking people, it was of course, illegal.”

Howdle, of Main Street, Beal near Selby, pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in a sex act in a child’s presence, one of inciting a child to perform a sex act and two of having indecent images of children.

He was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years on condition he does two years’ supervision. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

The prosecution, said Mr Semple, was unable to say exactly how old the boy was. The judge said the boy had told Howdle he was 15.