Desborough paedophile asked girl with learning difficulties to send sex video

A paedophile from Desborough who asked a girl with learning difficulties to send sexual videos and pictures has been spared jail.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:10 am
Northampton Crown Court.

After he was arrested police found more than 150 indecent images on devices owned by Joe Cross - including one of a baby - and internet history showing he had been searching for material showing the rape of youngsters.

But the 24-year-old was not sent to prison after a judge was told he had "significant vulnerabilities".

Yesterday (Tuesday) Northampton Crown Court heard Cross, of Eastbrook Hill, used a fake Facebook profile to send a friend request to a 15-year-old girl he did not know and was not local.

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He told the girl, who has learning difficulties, that he was 16 and in October 2017 asked if she had a boyfriend and if she would like to meet.

Prosecuting, Jack Talbot said: "They exchanged messages which quickly became sexual.

"He asked her for nude pictures and he asked her for sex."

Over the course of two weeks he asked her to send an explicit video, which she did, before sending her videos and pictures of him performing a sex act.

Mr Talbot said: "She asked him to delete the photos she sent him and he refused and asked for more photos."

Police were alerted to the indecent images and arrested him on October 11. They seized his phone and found the fake Facebook profile and images the girl had sent.

When they searched his devices they found a total of 60 indecent category A images of children and one video, one category B video and 105 category C images including one involving a baby. Category A images are the most depraved.

They also found search terms showing he had repeatedly looked for material showing the rape of young children.

Cross gave no comment interviews and refused to provide the pin code to his devices, but later admitted three counts of possession of indecent images and one charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Mitigating, Micaila Williams said it was clear Cross, who had no previous convictions, had significant vulnerabilities and that he had struggled to build relationships outside of his family life.

She said he had a fear of going out and meeting people, relied heavily on his father and had an 'unhealthy' relationship online.

She said: "He still has a great deal of learning to do."

Judge Rupert Mayo told Cross that had he distributed the images he would have been sent straight to prison.

But after hearing of his vulnerability he decided to give him a second chance.

He said: "Because of that and the hope of rehabilitation...I'm prepared to suspend the sentence for two years."

Cross was jailed for 16 months for inciting sexual activity and a total of three months for the indecent images offences, to run consecutively, with the 19-month total sentence suspended.

He must take part in 40 rehabilitation days and the court ordered that the devices with the images and videos on are to be destroyed.

Cross will also be on the register for sex offenders for 10 years and will be the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years, placing restrictions on his internet usage.