A Richmond paedophile has been spared jail after sending depraved pictures to what he believed to be under-age teen boys.
David Macey, 62, engaged in lurid chat with what he thought were young boys, but who were in fact an undercover police operative posing as children, York Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Helen Spector said Macey sent pictures of an intimate part of his body to the ‘boys’ and images or films of him performing a lewd act.
He also sent images of another man performing sex acts on him, she added.
Macey, of Frances Road, appeared for sentence on Tuesday, August 30, after pleading guilty to five counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child under 16 years of and causing a child to watch an image of sexual activity.
The offences occurred between July 2018 and the summer of 2020.
Macey denied a further allegation that he made or downloaded four Category B indecent images of children.
The prosecution ultimately accepted his plea and withdrew that allegation.
Ms Spector said officers swung into action after receiving information that a man in Richmond had been having online sex chats with a police decoy masquerading as a 13-year-old boym
Macey, who went under the username ‘David’ or ‘DM’, was arrested in July 2020, when police seized his Nokia phone and an Alcatel computer.
Examination of the devices revealed that Macey had been having explicitly sexual chats with people he believed to be children who made it clear that they were under the age of consent.
The messages showed that Macey had been having chats with what he believed to be boys between the ages of 13 and 15, sending them numerous lurid pictures or films on Whatsapp and Grindr, the gay dating app.
He was hauled in for questioning but in his first interview in July last year, he claimed he would “stop the conversation” if he thought his online contact was under 16.
He claimed it was all a “mistake”, but in a subsequent police interview in February this year he made full admissions, albeit claiming he didn’t have a sexual interest in children.
Macey, who chose not to be represented in court, said he was looking after his elderly mother, with whom he lived.
Judge Simon Hickey rejected Macey’s claims that he would “stop a conversation” if he thought his online contacts were under-age and told the Richmond man: “You clearly have an interest in under-age males.”
However, he said the children were fictitious, so no real harm was done.
He added that Macey was hitherto a man of good character who was a “rather sad and isolated” figure.
He said that an immediate jail sentence would result in a “significant harmful impact” on those close to him and that there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.
Macey was given a 10-month suspended jail sentence with a 40-day rehabilitation programme.
He was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and slapped with a sexual-harm prevention order to curb his internet activities. That order will also last for 10 years.