Persistent Northampton sex offender back in jail after breaching court order by secretly surfing net

Billingham previously made up fake family member fantasy to chat to underage girls online

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:38 pm

A convicted sex offender from Northampton is back in jail after probation officers discovered he had been surfing the internet in secret.

Lee Billingham, aged 46, was sentenced to 32 months at Northampton Crown Court after breaching a sexual harm prevention order first imposed in 2014.

The order was put in place to prevent Billingham, of South Holme Court, from reoffending after he was jailed for a number of incidents in which he engaged in sexual contact and communication with children under the age of 16.

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Convicted sex offender Lee Billingham is back in jail after surfing the internet in secret

Billingham — then known as Lee Murray — was also jailed for 34 months in 2017 for breaching the order after admitting indecent online chats with underage girls.

Probation officers discovered Billingham had been using the internet on his mobile phone in private browser mode during a scheduled visit.

Subsequent examination of the phone and also a tablet device by Northamptonshire Police found Billingham had also deleted his internet history – both actions which were banned under the terms of his SHPO.

Billingham appeared at Northampton Crown Court last week (July 26) and was jailed for a total of 32 months after only admitting the two breaches on what would have been the first day of his trial.

Speaking afterwards, Detective Constable Sophie Duffree, of the Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders team at Northamptonshire Police, said: “Part of the role of the MOSOVO team is to ensure that registered sex offenders abide by their court orders and to bring them to justice when they fail to do so.

“Billingham’s actions around his internet activity were a deliberate attempt to hide what he was doing from police and probation services.

"I am pleased that this sentence has put a persistent offender behind bars after he chose to breach his sexual harm prevention order, and to hinder officers’ efforts to manage his risk to the community.

“Cases like this highlight the importance of online safety. Check in with your children about who they are speaking to online, and any concerns they may have. There are resources online with advice on how to keep your child safe.”

Back in January 2017, Murray entered an online chat forum under the identity 'I love piercings' — which was not registered with police — and spoke to four girls under 16 years old via his mobile.

In one message thread with a 14-year-old girl the prosecutor Almas Ben-Aribia said the defendant's conversation started with him claiming that he had a private part of his body pierced while he posed as a 30-year-old man, 12 years younger than his actual age.

He also made up a fake family member to entice girls to chat with him.

"He told police in his interview that he got a sexual thrill from the chats," the prosecution added.

Following last week's sentencing hearing, the terms of Billingham’s SHPO were extended indefinitely and it will remain in place unless a court orders otherwise.