Lifeguard tried to groom ‘schoolgirl’
PUBLISHED: 07:30 10 March 2020
A lifeguard at Crown Pools swimming baths in Ipswich was arrested in a police internet sting after he asked an undercover officer posing as a schoolgirl to send him naked pictures.
Sentencing 31-year-old Christopher Newman, Judge Martyn Levett described the messages he sent to someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl called "Sophie" as "explicit" and said they had been driven by sexual gratification.
Newman, who has since been dismissed from his job at Crown Pools, was arrested after an undercover police officer posed as a 12-year-old on the social media platform Kik messenger during an operation by West Midlands Police last year.
On November 25 Newman had started communicating with "Sophie" and asked her a number of sexual questions.
He asked her if she was "a naughty girl" and to touch herself intimately, said Matthew Bignall, prosecuting.
Newman had also spoken about a sex act, asked her to send him an intimate picture of herself and in one message called her "my naughty good girl".
Mr Bignall said the grooming messages had continued for three weeks until the middle of December when Newman was arrested
During questioning by police officers he admitted knowing "Sophie" was only 12.
He denied getting any sexual gratification from his contact with her and denied having a sexual interest in children.
Newman, of Downing Close, Ipswich, admitted attempting to communicate with a person under 16 between November 24 and December 17 last year for the purpose of sexual gratification by asking sexually explicit questions.
He was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.
He was also given a 35 day rehabilitation activity requirement, ordered to take part in a sex offenders' treatment programme, made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years and ordered to sign the sexual offenders' register for the same period.
Robert Pollington, defending Newman, said his client was "ashamed, embarrassed and remorseful" for what he'd done.
He described Newman, who sat in the dock with his head in his hands, as being extremely anxious and having emotional vulnerabilities.