A pervert who blackmailed an underage girl into sending him revealing photographs has been spared jail by a judge who would prefer him to seek treatment.
Adam Pearson, 22, of Hertford Avenue, Marsden, South Shields, met the teenage girl on Facebook and started communicating with her on Skype.
The court heard he persuaded her to send photos of herself with no clothes then threatened to send the photos to others if she did not send more naked photos.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how he told her: “I promise I’ll send them to everyone on Facebook.”
When Pearson told her to obtain a naked picture of her sister, she reported the matter and Pearson was arrested.
The court heard how he told police he thought the girl was 18 and then claimed he had never asked her age.
He also told them she had sent the photographs of herself without him asking her to do so.
Pearson pleaded guilty to four counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one count of blackmail.
Katherine Dunn, defending, told the court how Pearson had mental health problems, which he needs help for.
Judge Paul Sloan QC told Pearson: “You have got no previous convictions. You are a previous good character. This offending over a two-month period is out of character.
“You have mental health difficulties which impacted on your ability to form age-appropriate relationships.
“It’s clear that you’re leading a very lonely existence and you are an immature individual.”
Judge Sloan told Pearson he would be passing a community order, rather thana suspended sentence, so Pearson would receive a three-year sex offender treatment programme.
Judge Sloan said: “This offending does cross the custodial threshhold and the only reason I am not passing a custodial is so the supervision can be imposed.
“If you breach the order, you are back before me and you are heading to prison straight away.”
Judge Sloan sentenced Pearson to a three-year community order with three years’ supervision and a sex offender programme requirement for 56 days.