Ipswich man tried to meet 13-year-old girl at Christchurch Park

The play area in Christchurch Park will see its 10-week upgrade begin while it is already closed fro

Christchurch Park in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

An Ipswich man has been told he faces an almost inevitable jail sentence for trying to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

Russell Holman thought he was going to meet a 13-year-old girl in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, on February 21 this year.

But the 35-year-old, of Curlew Road, Ipswich, had actually been communicating with a covert police officer.

Holman appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on Monday.

During a short hearing, he spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth before admitting two offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

He pleaded guilty to intentionally arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, namely engaging in sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old female, between January 29 and February 21.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, namely detailing sexual acts he wanted to perform with her, and what sexual acts she was prepared to engage in, between January 29 and February 21.

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The court heard that Holman was found in possession of a bag containing condoms and lubricant.

Barrister Peter Spary said Holman accepted he had communicated and attended for the purpose of penetrative sexual activity.

Mr Spary said Holman was of previous good character, but acknowledged the more serious of the two offences commanded a starting point for sentencing of five years' custody.

He asked for an adjournment to allow the defence to obtain medical evidence on Holman's mental health and learning ability, and for the probation service to compile a pre-sentence report to include an assessment of his risk others.

Recorder Guy Ayers ordered a sentencing hearing to be listed for the week beginning May 10.

He told Holman: "You had the very good sense to plead guilty, and the judge who passes sentence will give the appropriate amount of credit, but you must understand that these are very serious offences and it's almost inevitable there will be a substantial custodial sentence."

Holman was released on conditional bail until his sentencing. 

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