Man caught in Ipswich park paedophile sting jailed for more than two years

Russell Holman

Russell Holman was jailed for 28 months at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

An Ipswich man has been jailed for 28 months 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, in February this year.

But the 36-year-old mechanic, of Curlew Road, Ipswich, had actually been communicating with a covert police officer.

The father-of-two appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing on Monday, having admitted two offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 at an earlier hearing in March.

The hearing was adjourned until this week for 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 to others.

Holman had pleaded guilty to intentionally arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification between January 29 and February 21.

He was found in possession of a bag containing condoms and lubricant at the entrance to the park at 2pm on Saturday, February 20.

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Prosecutor Gary Rutter said Holman told police: "I knew this was a sting. I just came down here to stop someone else getting that girl in that way."

But Holman's phone still contained a Kik Messenger chat history containing discussions of a sexual nature with the decoy.  

In one message, Holman acknowledged that someone of his age would be regarded as a 'paedo' for contacting a 13-year-old girl.

Holman, a man of previous good character, was described as having moderate high-functioning autism disorder in a neuropsychologist's report.

Richard Conley, mitigating, said Holman was an extremely introverted person who found it difficult to communicate.

He said there was no evidence of indecent material or indicative search terms found on Holman's phone or computer.

"There are no clues in his background to suggest he is a person with a propensity for this behaviour," he added.

Judge David Pugh said he had taken into account Holman's lack of previous convictions and settled family life, but said he found no material link between his condition and his behaviour. 

Holman was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.