Face of Skegness sex offender jailed after posing as teenage boy online
A scheming convicted sex offender pretended to be a teenage boy in online conversations with young girls in a perverted bid to try to get them to send revealing and intimate photographs of themselves to him.
Obsessed and cunning Jamie Agnew used a decoy picture of a young boy and even installed special software to disguise the identification of his phone, using a virtual private network in an attempt to prevent police being able to monitor his online activities.
But the children, including a 15-year-old girl, were “savvy enough” not to get drawn into the sexual traps that he was laying for them and he was stopped after a routine police safeguarding check, a court heard.
Agnew, 40, of Wainfleet Road, Skegness, admitted three offences of breaching a sexual harm prevention order and breaching a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Amber Hobson, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that the suspended sentence and sexual harm prevention order were imposed at Leicester Crown Court last year for offences of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
Police made an unannounced risk management visit to Agnew’s Skegness home on February 16 this year and he threw himself to the floor and claimed that he needed to go to hospital.
His mother handed over one mobile phone before leaving the room and shoving other mobiles into a pillow case under a duvet, but she did later hand them over. A laptop was also seized.
Agnew was asked for the password to the mobiles but he did not provide it. Police discovered that Agnew had been communicating with children under 16 on Snapchat and making requests for images of them.
He had also made sexual comments and described sexual activities but had no response to them.
Agnew had a conversation with a 15-year-old girl and told her that he was a child.
“The defendant deceived the child into having conversations with him,” said Miss Hobson, who added: “The risk of harm to her was very serious.”
The children seemed to have not been taken in by the deception but there was potential for severe harm. Agnew had installed software on his phone that allowed him to hide his IP address and had a virtual private network which allowed him to change the IP address and anonymise his online activities, in breach of the order.
His internet activity history had to be available under the order so that checks could be made by police. Cathy Kioko-Gilligan, mitigating, said that Agnew had made admissions and pleaded guilty. He had been in custody on remand.
Recorder Peter Makepeace QC told Agnew: “You were using Snapchat to contact girls under 16. You pretended to be a child yourself.
“You furnished a photo of a child under 16 and were requesting pictures of the victims to be sent through to you.” Agnew sent suggestive text messages and had discussions of a personal and intimate nature and was chatting with a 15-year-old girl.
He used the photograph of a child “to lend some credibility to your claim to be a child” during his chats. “It’s extremely fortunate that all the children seemed to be savvy enough not to have engaged too far with you,” said Recorder Makepeace.
Agnew was jailed for three years and nine months. The sentence included a consecutive 18 months for breaching the suspended sentence.