Man, 56, confronted by online ‘paedophile hunters’ appears in court
PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 24 June 2020
A man has been convicted of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child following a confrontation by online vigilantes.
John Irving appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday to admit four counts of attempting to communicate with a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.
The 56-year-old denied a fifth charge of possessing an extreme pornographic image.
Irving was arrested in Inverness Road, Ipswich, and later charged in connection with an operation by paedophile hunters on July 4 last year.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a girl under 16 – a decoy referred to by the initials ‘KC’ – between January 1 and his arrest last year, by describing sexual acts, instructing KC to engage in sexual activity and requesting images from her.
He also admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a girl under 16, ‘MJ’, between June 29 and his arrest, by instructing her to engage in sexual activity and send images.
He also admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a girl under 16, ‘KB’, between July 1 and his arrest, by encouraging her to engage in sexual activity, informing her of sexual acts he claimed to have performed on other children and requesting to see her naked.
Finally, he admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a girl under 16, ‘EW’, between June 19 and his arrest, by referring to her as sexy, informing her of his first sexual experience, and requesting video calls and photos.
Irving, of Walton Road, Clacton, pleaded not guilty to possession of an extreme pornographic image.
Andrew Thompson, representing Irving, asked Judge Rupert Overbury to order the preparation of a pre-sentence report by the probation service to address his client’s suitability for a specific intervention programme delivered to men with a conviction for sexual offences.
Judge Overbury adjourned sentencing for the week beginning July 6 and warned Irving to be under no preconception about the type of sentence he would be likely to receive. The hearing will also address how the fifth charge will be proceeded against.
Irving was released on bail with a condition to engage with the probation service. He must also sign the sex offenders’ register.
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