Downholme paedophile snared by police posing as children online

York Magistrates' Court.

A paedophile is facing another jail sentence after being snared by police posing as children during online chats.

Peter Reynolds, 48, was under a strict court order not to communicate to young girls on the internet following a previous conviction for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

But his “impulses” got the better of him again when he started chatting to what he thought were four underage girls who were in fact undercover police officers posing as youngsters, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Shaun Dryden said Reynolds had used the KIK messenger app to contact what he thought were young girls.

One of them told Reynolds she was 12 years’ old and he told her his true age when he contacted her in September.

They had “sexual conversations” and Reynolds sent her two intimate pictures.

The officer then sent him a picture of a girl, and he said he would like her to perform a lewd act on him.

Reynolds, of Downholme, contacted another ‘girl’ who said she was 13 years of age.

Again, he gave her his real age, not realising he was chatting to an undercover officer.

“There were discussions about her (in) school uniform,” said Mr Dryden.

“He said she was sexy.”

There were similar conversations with two other ‘girls’ who were actually police officers using pseudonyms.

Reynolds later deleted the messages and the four contacts from his mobile phone, but police already had all the incriminating evidence they needed.

He was arrested and charged with breaching a sexual-harm prevention order and a further count of attempting to breach the order, along with two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The latter charges were termed ‘attempts’ only because the girls were adult decoys.

Reynolds admitted the offences and appeared in court via video link on Thursday.

Mr Dryden said Reynolds had been made subject to a seven-year sexual-harm order in November 2016 when he received the suspended prison sentence for the previous sex offence.

Under the terms of that order, Reynolds was prohibited from owning any internet-enabled device which had not been registered with police.

He was also forbidden from contacting girls under 16 years of age.

However, on October 20 this year, officers searched his home in the early hours of the morning and inside his bedroom they found a mobile phone which had not been disclosed to police.

It was on that phone that he had contacted the young ‘girls’.

Harry Crowson, mitigating, said Reynolds was “under no illusion” that he was facing a jail sentence, but he contended that any prison term could be suspended and asked for sentence to be adjourned for a probation report.

Recorder Anthony Hawkes agreed to adjourn sentence but said he was making “no promises” as to sentence because it was “very worrying” that Reynolds “hadn’t learnt his lesson” since his previous conviction in 2016.

He told Reynolds: “Your case is a worrying case (because) notwithstanding the fact that you were placed on a suspended sentence for child sex offences and must have received some input to try and control your impulses, you not only breached your sexual-harm prevention order, but you committed further offences of trying to engage in sexual communication with under-age children.”

Mr Recorder Hawkes adjourned sentence to December 20 and reserved the case to himself.