Man near Lutterworth tried to meet 13-year-old girl for sexual activity - but 'she' turned out to be a decoy by an undercover police officer
A married father tried to persuade a 13-year-old girl to send him intimate pictures of herself and to meet him.
But that was never going to happen – because unknown to Andrew Trotter, he was actually exchanging messages not with a girl called Ellie, but with an undercover police officer.
And at Warwick Crown Court Trotter (35) of The Nook, Walcote, near Lutterworth, pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was given a two-year community order, with a rehabilitation activity to include a ‘Maps for Change’ programme, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years and to pay £500 costs.
Prosecutor Mohammad Hafeez said that in February 2018 Trotter, using the profile Drew Smith, began communicating with someone he believed was called Ellie on a social media app.
In fact the person on the other end was an undercover police officer and, when Trotter almost immediately asked how old Ellie was, he was told she was 13.
“Initially he said she was too young, but swiftly moved on to asking what she looked like, how big her boobs were, and asked her to send him pictures.”
There followed discussions of a sexual nature, during which he again asked for pictures, but Ellie declined.
He then said he would send her pictures of himself, and asked her to meet him.
Asked why he wanted to meet, Trotter said it was ‘to do some naughty things’.
Trotter then sent her an intimate picture of him exposing himself, and again asked her to send pictures.
“On one occasion he asked if she would bunk off school and go home to Skype him,” said Mr Hafeez.
Trotter made arrangements to meet Ellie the following Thursday but later said he could not make it because of other commitments.
When he was arrested towards the end of 2018, Trotter accepted he used the profile Drew Smith, and that he had sent someone an intimate picture – but claimed he could not remember any conversations with a child.
Martin Groves, defending, said: “Someone of previous good character, he is mortified by his behaviour, and ashamed. He seemed to have lost himself. He apologises for his behaviour.
“He shows in the pre-sentence report he understands what effect it could have had if it had been a real 13-year-old girl. Fortunately in this case, it was a police officer.”
Mr Groves said that since his arrest Trotter had stopped his excessive drinking and had gone back to work, and he was assessed as posing a low risk of further sexual offending.
Judge Peter Cooke observed that in the pre-sentence report it was said that Trotter’s wife had left him as a result of the offence, and Mr Groves confirmed: “They are estranged.”
Sentencing Trotter, Judge Cooke told him: “There are three things that have saved you from going to prison.
“First, you admitted this at an early stage; second, there is available a programme which has a very good success rate with people who have committed such offences; and third, you have shown considerable insight.
“This is a case where there was not girl in fact exposed to your overtures. Therefore, on the authorities, it’s appropriate I deal with you as somebody for whom the harm is in the lowest category, because there was no girl to be harmed.”