A man from Ipswich who believed he was talking to a twelve-year-old girl online and sent sexual messages has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Pavan Vannurappagari, of Star Lane, believed he was talking to the girl in October last year unaware she was in fact a man who was part of a child activist group.

The decoy account was called 'Emily Thompson' and initially the ‘girl’ said she was from Essex. 

Ipswich Crown Court heard from prosecutor Terence Woods the defendant contacted her and said she looked cute and asked if she had a boyfriend.

The conversation then went on over WhatsApp and she said she was in Year eight.

The defendant asked if they could meet up but she said she would get in trouble with her mother.

Vannurappagari asked the girl if she had ever kissed anyone and told her to come to Ipswich and then asked if she had seen any “romantic videos” before he sent her links to two pornographic videos.

He went on to ask if she knew what masturbation was and sent her links to videos of men and women masturbating – but he told her to delete the chat “because if someone saw it, it would not be good”, the court heard.

Eventually he arranged to meet her in Colchester and when he got to the railway station he sent a photograph to show he was there.

However, the man behind the account then sent the police to arrest him and his phone was seized.

He pleaded guilty in December last year to attempted sexual grooming, attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

The court heard from defence barrister Steven Dyble, who said the defendant came to the UK on a work visa and when his employers discovered his arrest in November he was dismissed.

“Following his dismissal and the revocation of his visa he is not allowed to work in the UK and has no entitlement to benefits so he has been living off the goodwill of people he has befriended in the UK and has run up a sizeable debt and there is now rent outstanding on his property,” Mr Dyble told the court.

He went on to say Vannurappagari, 24, wishes to leave the country and go back to his home in India as soon as possible.

Dyble argued for a suspended sentence with no rehabilitation activity requirement days or community work order conditions because that would require him to stay in the UK, where it is impossible for him to support himself, and further argued it would be unjust to give him jail time simply because the defendant is too impoverished to carry out the conditions of suspended sentence. 

Judge Nicola Talbot-Hadley sentenced in line with this argument and told the defendant he is free to leave the country and go home.

He received a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.  

A victim surcharge of £156 was imposed and minimum five-year sexual harm prevention order was imposed.

The judge told him: “It would be unfair of me to give you custody simply because you don’t have a settled established position.”

Vannurappagari left the dock wiping away tears.