Hartlepool man, 62, jailed for ‘disgusting’ chat with teenage girl on internet

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A man who engaged in “disgusting” conversations on the internet with a girl more than 40 years younger than him has been jailed.

Barry Crawford, 62, encouraged a 15-year-old girl to send him explicit pictures of her despite knowing her age.

How would you feel about a 15-year-old child of yours being approached online by someone your age with the nature of the conversations which were explicit in the extreme?

Judge Stephen Ashurst

Teesside Crown Court heard that Crawford took to the internet for explicit chat with women after an illness left him sexually frustrated.

He also downloaded more than 100 indecent images of children after searching for pictures of underage girls.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said Cleveland Police were alerted to Crawford’s activity early in 2013 by a national body that helps exploited children.

The organisation was concerned about conversations on the social network site Tagged between a girl aged 14 or 15 and a man who turned out to be Crafword using a different name.

Mr Hadfield said: “Police established the defendant was the person and was traced to the defendant’s home in Hartlepool.

“The chat the police were able to recover established that the defendant was requesting indecent images from the victim.

“She said quite categorically she was 15.”

The court heard that Crawford asked for and was sent sexually explicit images by the girl and that he encouraged her to do sexual things.

When police went to his house they also seized a laptop computer which was later found to have 113 indecent images of children that he had downloaded from the internet.

He told police he looked at them out of curiosity.

Crawford, of Lindsay Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent photographs of children.

Katy Rafter, mitigating, said: “This is a man who is of previous good character. He fully accepts he has done wrong and needs some assistance.

“He was sexually frustrated at the time and foolishly used his computer.”

Ms Rafter added most of his family has disowned him.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said the internet exchanges were “of a particularly disgusting nature” and must have been obvious to Crawford it was “seriously wrong”.

He said his marital problems were no excuse adding: “How would you feel about a 15-year-old child of yours being approached online by someone your age with the nature of the conversations which were explicit in the extreme?”

Judge Ashurst reduced the sentence partly due to the delay in the case getting to court.

It heard it was due to the overwhelming workload of the police in sex crime investigations.

Crawford will be on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.

He was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same period which restricts his contact with children under 16 and use of electronic devices.