Pervert sent 'revolting' sexual messages and images to '12-year-old girl'
A pervert who sent "revolting" sexual messages and images to the social media profile of a ‘12-year-old girl’ has been put behind bars.
Gary Shanley thought he was having explicit online conversations with a schoolgirl but had been snared in a police sting. Newcastle Crown Court heard, during weeks of conversations, the 46-year-old tried to manipulate the 'child' by saying he loved her and then threatening to kill himself if she did not do what he asked. The court heard during one chat he described a video of child abuse and said the young victim in the film "loved it". Shanley said the conversations must remain secret and even considered travelling 400 miles to Plymouth, where he thought the girl lived. Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court officers from the Child Online Exploitation Investigation Team were behind the account, which had been set up under the name 'Sophia', to snare adults looking for illegal contact. In February last year Shanley made contact and was told Sophia was 12. Miss Masters said the chat moved on to another online site and added: "The conversation quickly turned into conversation of a sexual nature." The court heard extremely graphic messages were sent to her by Shanley, along with pornographic pictures and videos. He was arrested last April. Shanley, of Hadrian Road, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act. At the time he was on a suspended sentence for offences of making threats to kill and battery, involving an ex partner. He also has a conviction for indecent exposure from 1996. The court heard Shanley was asked to leave the probation office due to his attitude while his pre-sentence report was prepared and he appeared to show "no remorse", with an air of "self pity". Judge Julie Clemitson sentenced Shanley to two years in prison plus ten years sex offender registration and sexual harm prevention order. The judge said the messages were "utterly revolting" and that Shanley poses a "very high risk" of future sexual offending. Judge Clemitson told him: "The speed at which the conversation became sexual after meeting her on the social media platform, knowing she was 12, you were looking for that sort of interaction. "This wasn't an accidental meeting, that is why you were there, looking for a child with which to engage in such conversations." The judge added: "It is apparent you were fully aware of the illegality of your actions because you reminded her from time to time not to tell anyone." Tom Mitchell, defending, said Shanley does feel "shame, contrition and real remorse" and has a number of significant health problems.