Ipswich man thought paedophile hunter was 12-year-old girl

Niall Horn will go on trial at Ipswich Crown Court

Philip Todd was given a three-year community order, with 150 hours of unpaid work and 40 days' rehabilitation activity requirement. - Credit: ARCHANT

An Ipswich man was snared by paedophile hunters after requesting explicit photos from an online decoy he believed to be a 12-year-old girl.   

Over a five-day period, Philip Todd repeatedly asked a chatroom user called Sophie to send photos of herself in her underwear.

After being confronted on his doorstep in Wherstead Road, Todd was also found to be in possession of indecent images of children.

The 50-year-old appeared for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday after previously admitting attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and possession of eight category C indecent images.

Prosecutor Paul Fairley told the court how Todd unwittingly began communicating with a decoy from vigilante group 'Black Flag Hunters' on Chatiw on July 20, 2019.

The court heard how Todd described himself as "a naughty old man who liked to look at girls in their underwear".

Mr Fairley said the conversation continued on Kik Messenger and WhatsApp, with Todd sending the decoy a photo of himself from the chin down to the top of his genital area.

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"When she said her dad was home, he suggested she went to the bathroom and took a photo in her underwear," added Mr Fairley.

"When she said no boys had seen her in her underwear, he said he would be her first, and that he was special."

Following a confrontation by another member of Black Flag Hunters on July 25, police searched Todd's home and found devices containing eight indecent images, screen-grabbed from chat apps.

Lynne Shirley, mitigating, told the court how Todd, a man of previously good character, had since been sacked from his job as an ice cream delivery driver and left by his long-term partner.

Judge Martyn Levett told Todd: "Your conduct over a limited period of about five days lost you your job and your partner.

"You may not be an entrenched paedophile, but you can't steer away from the fact that these are serious offences for which you must face punishment."

Judge Levett said his objective was also to deter Todd from reoffending by imposing a three-year community order, with 150 hours of unpaid work and 40 days' rehabilitation activity requirement.  

He will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

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