May 2022

County Durham sex offender jailed for creating online alias and staying at woman’s home

A County Durham sex offender has been jailed for creating an online alias and staying at a woman’s home without notifying police

Sheldon Parker was given a community order in January for having a sexual conversation online with what he thought was a 15-year-old child.

But the 25-year-old was in fact speaking with a decoy profile which had been set up by paedo hunter group.

As part of his conviction, Parker was required to notify the police of any change of name or names used online. He also had to register any address he stayed at for more than 12 hours.

But Parker breached the requirements of his order in January and April, and appeared at Durham Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced for five charges of failing to comply with notification requirements. He pleaded guilty to the charges at a previous hearing.

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said the offences came to light after a manager of a mobile phone shop in Chester-le-Street contacted the police after selling an iPhone to Parker.

She said: “At the time he never thought much of it, but he was later told the defendant had been convicted of a sexual offence.”

Days later, the manager received a Facebook message from a ‘Charlie Smith’, who was inquiring about another device. But the account actually belonged to Parker, who was using the name as an alias, and the police were contacted.

Ms Wright said Parker later contacted an officer from a phone number which was not registered with the police. Inquiries were made into the number, which was registered to a ‘Dr Charlie Smith’, but with the same address and date of birth as Parker.

Parker was later arrested and his phone was examined. Ms Wright said that Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok apps were found on the phone but none of the accounts had been registered with the police.

The court heard that police also became aware that Parker had stayed at the home of a woman who had a young child – but Parker, who had three previous convictions for six offences, failed to let the police know

Sentencing Parker, of Lyne Close, Pelton, County Durham, Judge Ray Singh, said he rejected the claim he was unaware of the details of his order and said he gave “deliberate falsehoods to police”. “You are no doctor, you are no Charlie Smith”, he added.

Parker was jailed for eight months.

February 2022

Previous conviction for grooming what he belived was a young girl online