Blackpool paedophile convinced teen to send graphic images on Facebook – and then cried about it to police

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Richard Smith was already subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and started crying when police visited his house

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A Blackpool paedophile groomed two young girls and persuaded one to take part in video calls in which he engaged in sex acts.

Richard Smith contacted two girls, aged 13 and 15, randomly on Facebook while he was living in the seaside town.

At Preston Crown Court today (May 19) prosecutor Richard Haworth said: “On examination of his phone police found he had been communicating with two females; one aged 13 from North Yorkshire and one aged 15 from West Yorkshire.

“On April 22 in 2018 the 13-year-old was interviewed and said she was contacted at random through Facebook by the defendant nine months previously.

“He told her his age and she told him his. On the video interview she gives the appearance of being very young and obviously 13 or younger.

“She said they communicated for a number of weeks via video calls, text messages and on Facebook.

The second victim, a 15-year-old girl, declined to cooperate with the police investigation. Smith had also been communicating with a 16-year-old girl but no charges were brought in relation to that as she was over the age of consent.

Smith has two cautions on his record for inciting a female child to engage in penetrative sexual activity and failing to comply with the notification requirements of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Defence barrister Thomas Sherrington said that since the offence Smith has had a son who he hopes to have contact with.

“He accepted, when the police went round, that there was something on his phone,” Mr Sherrington said.

“he has self-referred to an agency to help with his drinking issues.

“He has had a child with a partner and is hoping to take a great deal of responsibility.

“Having that child has given him the wake-up call as to his previous behaviour.”

The judge, Beverley Lunt, said it was clear Smith, who now lives in York House, Bradford, had ‘more issues than just alcohol’ and warned him the police would be monitoring him ‘extremely closely’.

Smith, who pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a female under 16 to engage in sexual activity, was given an 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

He must also complete 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and a sex offenders programme. The judge also imposed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order prohibiting him from having any unsupervised contact with girls under 16.