September 2022

Barry Snapchat paedophile pretended to be 13-year-old girl

A paedophile who posed as a 13-year-old girl on Snapchat was caught with indecent images of children when police raided his home.

Mark Harris, 41, told detectives he had been sent child abuse pictures by someone asking him if he wanted to look at “taboo” material.

Jason Howells, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court: “Police officers attended the defendant’s home address in Barry.

“This was following the receipt of information that indecent images of children had been downloaded at that address on June 18, 2021.

“The defendant was not at home having left a short time before to go to work nearby and officers attended his place of work.”

During a search of Harris’ home police seized a Samsung mobile phone and he gave them the PIN for it.

“The phone was examined and it contained indecent images of children and the defendant was arrested and taken to Cardiff Bay police station and detained for interview,” Mr Howells said.

Harris told detectives he had been using social media network Reddit when he was “contacted and asked by an unknown person if he wanted to look at taboo images”.

After agreeing, he was sent around 40 indecent images of children and admitted sending on one of the pictures via Snapchat.

“The defendant stated that he had created a false profile on Snapchat where he pretended to be a 13-year-old girl and engaged in conversation with older men who would fantasise and speak about the sexual activity they would like to do with her,” Mr Howells added.

Harris, of Barry Road, Barry, pleaded guilty to three counts of the possession of an indecent image of a child.

There were 23 category A images, the most serious kind, 15 at category B and 75 at category C.

He also admitted distributing an indecent image of a child.

Judge Michael Fitton KC told Harris there was a “realistic chance of rehabilitation” in his case.

The defendant was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and complete a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Harris must register as a sex offender for the next seven years and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.

The defendant was also ordered to pay £340 prosecution costs and a £115 victim surcharge.