Man escapes jail over computer web cam sex acts

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Reporter

A MAN who exposed himself to a 15-year-old girl via a computer web-cam and sent her explicit photos of himself has been spared jail in what a judge admitted was an “unusual” sentence.

Gary Dryden, 29, also repeatedly asked the girl to undress so he could commit a sex act on himself, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Police discovered that the teenager had added Dryden as a “friend” on her Facebook account, while billing enquiries by police revealed a series of phone texts  sent between the pair with the defendant describing what he wanted to do to her.

An examination of his computer revealed that he had downloaded a large quantity of child porn together with five indecent video clips.

Prosecuting, Sue Jacobs said when arrested Dryden initially claimed he thought the girl was 17 years-old, although he later admitted he knew she was 15.

Dryden, of Whinney Banks Road, Middlesbrough, was working in Darlington at the time of offences and continued to hold a job down in the town.

However his barrister Martin Towers said other aspects of his life had fallen apart – a long term relationship had collapsed and his house had been repossessed.

Mr Towers said Dryden, who had a documented history of depression, was “very sorry for what he had done and promised the court that he [would] never offend again”.

Dryden admitted two counts of causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

He also pleaded guilty to causing a child to watch a sexual act, making indecent photos of a child and possessing indecent photos.

Judge Tony Briggs said although there had been no direct face to face contact between Dryden and his victim, his conduct was “totally inexcusable and unacceptable”.

However he spared the defendant jail, giving him a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

He will be subject to a ten year long sexual offences prevention order, disqualified from working with children and must undergo a sex offenders' treatment programme, as well as register as a sex offender.

The judge said: “It is only because because of your early pleas and hitherto good character, along with the indication [in the pre-sentence report] that the treatment course is likely to be successful.

“However if you offend again, you will be back here and the suspended sentence will be reactivated and added to.”

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