December 2022

Deeside man jailed for attempting to engage in sexual chat with child

A Deeside man who attempted to engage in sexual conversation with a child online has been jailed.

Gareth Bateman, 52, of Lon Dderwen in Connah’s Quay, appeared at Mold Crown Court via video link from HMP Berwyn on Thursday, December 8.

At Preston Crown Court on November 11, he had pleaded guilty to three counts of attempting to breach a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

During Bateman’s sentencing in Mold, Rosemary Proctor, prosecuting, told the court that the offences in question had taken place on October 24 of this year.

Bateman had previously been made the subject of a five-year SHPO which restricted him from engaging in conversations with any child under the age of 16 years old.

However, Ms Proctor told the court that on this particular date Bateman had been on ‘Chat IW’ under the username ‘Gaz’.

It was there he began talking to another user called ‘Wee Ebs’ who stated that she was 18 years old on her profile, but later told the defendant that she was in fact 13.

Despite this, Bateman continued his conversation with this user and the pair moved their chats onto another app – ‘Kik’ – which gives the user the option to delete pictures and videos from chat history.

This also went against the terms of the SHPO imposed upon Bateman.

During the chats, he asked for pictures and videos and attempted to encourage what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl to talk to him ‘on camera’ and said ‘I bet you have a nice body too’.

What he did not know was that ‘Wee Ebs’ was in fact an undercover police officer and this led to police conducting a search of his home.

Bateman was sentenced to 21 months in prison for the attempt to engage in sexual communication with a child charge, but faced no separate penalties for the SHPO breaches. 

He was made the subject of another SHPO to last 10 years, will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years and the phone he used to engage in conversations has also been forfeited.