Wellingborough man who asked 13-year-old girl for sex said it was "banter"
A Wellingborough man asked what he thought was a 13-year-old girl for sex - but dismissed it as banter when he was arrested.
Sanjay Dholakia, 52, was spared jail after being caught in an online sting by an undercover police officer.
On Tuesday (October 22) Northampton Crown Court heard the religious man started using a chatroom under the username 'boredhubby6707'.
On October 22 last year he started talking to another user called Gemma and told her he was 51.
Prosecuting, Christopher Jeyes said: "She said she was 13, repeatedly so, and over the next two months they exchanged messages.
"In fact, Gemma was an undercover officer."
The messages continued on the chatroom, via text and on WhatsApp and soon became of a sexual nature.
Dholakia, of Great Park Street, asked her if she "liked older guys", if she would like to join him in bed and if she wanted sex.
He suggested their sexual encounters could also involve his wife or her mother and asked her to call him as he performed a sex act.
On December 14 there was a discussion about them meeting at a hotel.
Members of Dholakia's family sat with their head in their hands as details of the paedophile's crime were read out in court.
Contact between Dholakia and the 'girl' ended after he asked her again how old she was.
The undercover officer replied: "13 lol I have told you a million times".
Dholakia, who admitted attempting to incite a child in sexual activity, said: "You are too young hun".
He was arrested but downplayed his crime when questioned by police.
Mr Jeyes said: "He said it is banter that probably got out of hand."
The court heard Dholakia was sacked from his job at a stationery firm.
Mitigating, Micaila Williams said: "He has brought shame on his family."
She added that he had since become involved with a foundation to prevent child abuse and helps a helpline.
She said: "There are no excuses for what he has done, he knows that only too well."
Judge Rupert Mayo said he didn't accept that Dholakia's actions were just banter but spared him from prison.
He said: "You were saved from very serious offending from the fact that no arrangements were made."
Dholakia was handed eight months in jail, suspended for 18 months.
He must take part in 25 rehabilitation days and carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.
He will be on the register for sex offenders for 10 years and is also the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.