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Telford man sent explicit photos to police account he believed belonged to girl, 13

By Rob Smith | Telford | Crime | Published:

A man sent lewd pictures of himself to an account he believed belonged to a 13-year-old girl living in Wales, but was in fact chatting to an undercover police operative.

Richard Westwood, 28, spoke with ‘Morgan’ online in May of 2017 and asked for pictures of her cleavage, after the police officer running the account told him she was aged 13.

They spoke for about nine days and Westwood was arrested later that year.

He appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court to be sentenced for attempting to communicate sexually with a child.

Prosecuting, Kevin Jones said that Westwood sent ‘Morgan’ an explicit picture of himself and later told her it was ‘her turn’ to send him a picture.

Defending Westwood, Paul Smith said that he had not attempted to arrange any physical meeting with the person and that he accepted responsibility.

But Judge Anthony Lowe said that even after he pleaded guilty Westwood had been ‘in denial’ about what motivated him to speak to an account which he believed to belong to an underage girl in an explicit way.

Rehabilitation

The judge told him: “The one thing that you’re going to have to get past is at the moment a denial of really what you did and why you did it.

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“You need to understand what interests you that made you behave in this way because that’s the only way within the probation service that they can give you strategies to deal with it.”

He handed down a community order for two years, including a requirement for 30 rehabilitation activity days and a sex offender programme.

“These requirements are there to help you, they are not punishments,” the judge said.

“They are there to address whatever problems you have, not just problems in relation to these offences.”

He also made a sexual harm prevention order restricting Westwood’s internet use and contact with children without the consent of parents or guardians. Westwood, of Shepherd’s Lane, Red Lake, must also pay £1,500 towards prosecution costs.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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