May 2023

Judge slams ‘unsolicited d*** pics’ as she deals with ‘paedophile hunter’ case

A judge hit out at the evil of young women being sent unsolicited ‘d*** pics’ as she dealt with a man guilty of vile sex chats with what he thought were underage girls.

William Sykes, 54, greeted the younger of the two ‘decoy’ social media accounts – allegedly belonging to a 12-year-old girl – with the words ‘hi sexy’ and sent an older ‘girl’, who was apparently 14, a picture of his appendage in late 2020.

Learning of the filthy photography prompted the judge hearing the case, Recorder Samantha Presland, to ponder out loud: “Do you think that mobile phones having cameras on them is a curse?”

She added, sarcastically, that an ‘unsolicited d*** pic’ of the type sent by the defendant was what every woman wanted to see.

Later, she said it was ‘purely luck no one was on the receiving end of this’, as the ‘girls’ were in fact adult ‘paedophile hunters’.

The type of material the defendant was sending and inviting ‘kills’ young women’s self-esteem and makes them feel like ‘objects’, she added.

Sentencing, Recorder Presland said: “It’s a very, very serious offence, Mr Sykes. I cannot understate that.”

Prosecutor Matthew Knight said Sykes met the older ‘girl’ on a web app before moving the conversation on to WhatsApp.

“The conversation included what certainly to an adult would appear to be references to content of a sexual nature and it culminates, in short, in Mr Sykes sending a picture of his penis to the decoy,” he said.

In the messages, Sykes described the girl as ‘very pretty’ and seemed to acknowledge that he ‘may get into trouble’ by sending and asking for explicit material.

The ‘girl’ was, in fact, a grown-up working with so-called paedophile hunter group The Ghosts.

A second group, called Elite Solo Decoys, was responsible for the second decoy account with which Sykes exchanged messages. The girl – claiming to be a 12-year-old – was called ‘sexy’ by the defendant.

Sykes was confronted by the ‘hunters’ in a video that was live-streamed.

He was arrested and, when he appeared before the magistrates’ court in March, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child.

Mitigating, Bethan Chichester said her client had been drinking up to 24 cans of strong alcohol a day at the time of the offending. He had since managed to cut down his daily consumption to five or six cans.

He was given 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for a year and a half and must abide by a 10 year sexual harm prevention order. Sykes, of Blackbird Leys Road, Oxford, will be on the sex offender register for a decade.