Internet pervert footballer is facing jail

CRAIG NELSON ... pictured in action for Jarrow Roofing.

CRAIG NELSON ... pictured in action for Jarrow Roofing.

A SOUTH Tyneside footballer who conned children into sending him naked snaps has been warned he faces jail after breaching an order banning him from contacting under 18s.

Craig Nelson, who once represented Middlesbrough and scored against Manchester United’s juniors at Old Trafford, was a trainee teacher when he set up fake accounts on social networking sites and pretended to be a 14-year-old bisexual girl named Jessie J, as well as other young male and female identities.

The 32-year-old married father was given 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Newcastle Crown Court in July 2012 after he pleaded guilty to inciting children to engage in sexual activity and distribution of indecent photographs.

Nelson - who is originally from South Shields and whose previous clubs include Northern League outfit Jarrow Roofing - was also made subject to a sexual offences prevention order for five years and must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10.

But he has appeared in court again after breaching the terms of the order after contacting a youngster from Sunderland.

Sunderland magistrates heard he had unsupervised contact with a girl aged under 18 and had deleted his internet search history.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, did not elaborate on the charges, to which Nelson entered guilty pleas.

District Judge Roger Elsey said Nelson must be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court and warned him he would face jail.

He said: “You appreciate that these are very serious charges and when you are sentenced you will, of course, be given credit for your early guilty plea.

“But given you are subject to a suspended sentence, you have to expect that this will be activated.”

Nelson, now of West Cornforth, County Durham, was released on bail to appear at a date and time to be decided by the crown court.

A crown court judge heard in 2012 heard how Nelson used bogus identities to try to persuade his virtual “friends” to send him naked photographs of themselves.

In exchange he sent them explicit pictures of a teenage girl, who he claimed to be.

When one girl agreed to his indecent request, but refused to keep posing for pictures to him, Nelson threatened he would post the photos he had of her on to the internet.

When the frightened youngster informed her mother of her plight the police became involved and the full scale of Nelson’s deception was exposed.

The court heard between 2009 and 2011 Nelson had targeted girls and boys, who all lived on Wearside, in similar ways.


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