July 2022

Brighouse man started internet sex chat with woman posing as 12-year-old girl

A former stonemason caught by an online paedophile hunter group has been given a suspended prison sentence at Bradford Crown Court.

Ashley Sharman, 28, had been misusing alcohol and was suffering from depression when he started internet sex chat with a woman posing as a 12-year-old girl, his lawyer said today.

Over a five-day period in May 2019 Sharman, of Robertson Avenue, Brighouse, sent the decoy profile indecent photos and videos of himself and discussed sex acts with the ‘child.’

Prosecutor Alisha Kaye said a member of the online group arranged to meet him in an Elland pub on the pretext of buying stone from him.

He was confronted about his online chats and the police were contacted.

Sharman was later found to have downloaded about 200 indecent images of children and today he was sentenced after he admitted charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and possession of indecent images.

Judge Burn decided that Sharman’s 15-month jail term should be suspended for two years and ordered him to comply with an accredited sex offender programme.

Sharman will now have to register as a sex offender with the police for the next ten years and he will be subject to sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.