Man admits grooming young girls
A SUFFOLK man has admitted grooming young girls and having hundreds of indecent pictures of children.Paul Etheridge, a 24-year-old carpenter from the Halesworth area, was caught with more than 200 pictures of girls aged 13-15 on his mobile phone and more than 2,300 on his computer.
A SUFFOLK man has admitted grooming young girls and having hundreds of indecent pictures of children.
Paul Etheridge, a 24-year-old carpenter from the Halesworth area, was caught with more than 200 pictures of girls aged 13-15 on his mobile phone and more than 2,300 on his computer.
Detectives said he enticed youngsters to send indecent images of themselves, often in exchange for mobile top-up vouchers.
He was caught after a 13-year-old girl from Reigate, Surrey, alerted police that she had been propositioned online by a man who wanted her to make and send indecent photographs using her mobile phone camera in July last year.
Surrey Police's paedophile online investigation team was quickly able to trace Etheridge and he was arrested at home on August 9. Analysis of his computers and mobile phone revealed he had been in contact with hundreds of girls under 16 across the country including Norwich, London, Belfast, Lancashire and Surrey. Thousands of indecent images, many from web cameras, were also found on his computer.
Etheridge pleaded guilty to 26 offences when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court yesterday and a further seven remain on file. They include possession of indecent images and inciting the production of indecent images, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and, in the most serious case, engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl from London.
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Judge Derek Inman, who adjourned sentence until February 22, told Etheridge: “You pleaded guilty to a large number of offences of indecency involving children of various sorts. I am sure you realise they are very serious crimes and the likelihood is that you will obviously face a custodial sentence.”
Det Insp Theresa Breen said: “Our specialist team unravelled a web of offending stretching right across the country. This case was very serious because the offender had escalated from obtaining images from the internet, to grooming girls to make their own photos and, in one case, actually meeting a girl and engaging in sexual activity.”