July 2023

Hull paedophile exploited bullied US schoolgirl during sickening video call

A convicted Hull paedophile exploited a ‘bullied’ US schoolgirl and persuaded her to expose herself during a video call.

Peter Sharp, 69, had already been handed a suspended sentence in 2016 for possessing indecent images and was subjected to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. But that didn’t deter him and three years later officers discovered further offending.

Hull Crown Court heard that, as part of the order, Sharp’s electronic devices were periodically checked by police. On September 7, 2019, officers found worrying search terms typed in on his laptop, such as nudist and pre-teen.

The laptop was seized and forensically examined. As a result, evidence was found relating to a Skype call Sharp had made with a 14-year-old girl in the US.

The conversation was from April 2019 and he had persuaded the girl to take her top off and made inappropriate comments. Sharp then asked her if she would have been his boyfriend if he had been 50 years younger.

The forensic search also unearthed indecent images with one category A video (the most extreme), one category B image and five category C images.

By deleting his search history, Sharp, of Cambridge Street, also breached his Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Following further investigations, Sharp was arrested on September 9, 2020 – year after police seized the laptop. There were further delays in bringing the case to court as police unsuccessfully tried to identify the girl he video called.

When arrested, Sharp accepted the laptop was his and that he had deleted his search history. He also admitted he had a sexual interest in children.

Recorder Woolfall told Sharp: “You can be under no misapprehension of the seriousness of the crimes you have committed. Your sexual interest in children has not been put off by your previous brush with the law.

“This was a real child involved and not some decoy. There were attempts to trace the individual which proved unsuccessful but you knew she was vulnerable and she told you how she had been bullied at school. You sought to exploit this vulnerability for your own sexual gratification.

“I note your life was fairly uneventful and you had always worked until you were injured in the hit and run. You were then unable to work and became lonely and isolated. You looked to the internet for comfort and took a wrong turn.

“But your offending involved a real child and this is so serious only a sentence of immediate custody can be imposed.”

Sharp was sentenced to a total of 13 months for the offences and a new ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order has been imposed which will begin once he is released from prison.