A man has been jailed after exchanging indecent images with a teenage girl.
Mark McNeil, of Sutton Road, Kidderminster, groomed the girl after befriending her.
The 43-year-old began to text her, initially with friendly chat, but then asked her to send him indecent photos of herself, and in turn sent her indecent photos of himself. The offences happened in 2012, when the girl was 14.
After McNeil was arrested, officers from West Mercia Police’s High Tech Crime Unit found 48 indecent images of other children on his phone, all of which were classed as level one – the least serious category.
McNeil admitted two offences of causing or inciting an underage girl to engage in sexual activity, as well as one charge of causing a child to look at an image of a sexual activity, and one of possessing indecent photos.
He was sentenced on February 14, at Worcester Crown Court after being convicted at a previous hearing. As well as being sentenced to serve two years and eight months in jail, he was ordered to be on the sex offenders register for life. Detective Constable Ian Davenport of West Mercia Police said: “The offences came to light when the child’s father found the images on her computer and notified the police. Extensive research traced the offender to his address in Kidderminster where he was arrested.”
“This is a clear case of an adult grooming an underage girl by befriending her and, once he has established her trust, persuading her to exchange indecent photographs.
“When interviewed, he fully admitted he was aware of the girl’s age, and that he was aware the messages being exchanged were inappropriate. Modern technology like mobile phones undoubtedly plays a big role in helping keep teenagers safe, but also make it easier for sexual predators.
“As it is half term, it is timely to remind parents to sit down with their children and establish ground rules about the use of mobiles and other devices. Communicating with kids, taking an interest in what they are doing, and being approachable means a young person is much more likely to tell them if they are asked to do anything which makes them feel worried or uncomfortable.”