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Four-year jail term for paedophile recluse who lived life through internet
A RECLUSE who was said to have lived out his life on the internet has been jailed for more than four years after a girl he contacted online for sex turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Anthony Nelson was told by a judge that he had an unhealthy interest in young children, having used imaginary aliases to take advantage of two schoolgirls.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Nelson, from Shildon, County Durham, continued to try and fulfil his sexual desires even while on police bail after his arrest – telephoning an adult sex chatline and holding conversations about a young girl's underwear.
The case is just the latest in a string of online grooming cases using social networking websites which have been heard in the region's courts.
The 52-year-old, whose arrest was part of a broader investigation involving both Cheshire and Durham police, contacted an 11-year-old girl via Facebook purporting to be a schoolgirl and posted a picture of his assumed identity in her school uniform.
He engaged the victim in conversations about underwear and also referred to the imaginary schoolgirl's mother's boyfriend “perving up her nightie”.
The victim alerted her parents, who told the police, and a detective from Cheshire Police, Detective Constable Si Fleming, assumed control of the girl's Facebook account.
Prosecuting, Martin Towers said the officer began having text message conversations with Nelson in October last year.
He explained: “These were two older men communicating with each other in the guise of schoolgirls.”
Nelson encouraged the officer to text another man named 'Craig' who he said was his mother's boyfriend and aged 34.
Mr Towers said Craig – aka Nelson – asked if he could perform sexual acts and also e-mailed an indecent image of himself.
Nelson suggested a meeting for sex and asked if he could bring along a 50-year-old friend called 'Tony' for a “threesome”.
The court was told how the defendant separately contacted another 15-year-old girl, using the same alias and again introducing 'Craig'.
Nelson was arrested on January 8 this year at his home in Redworth Road with police seizing a computer tower and memory sticks containing indecent images.
He admitted two offences of inciting children to engage in sexual activity and a third of attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence.
He also pleaded guilty to 20 counts of making indecent images and possessing a total of 1,384 such images.
A further charge of possessing extreme pornography, depicting bestiality, was also admitted.
Carl Swift, mitigating, said the former night porter had not been able to explain his “quite disgusting criminal” conduct.
He said: “He did not think what he was saying to these victims would ever have materialised, but he does not deny his intent.”
Mr Swift said the defendant had drifted between relationships, having had two failed marriages.
“He has effectively been living recently as a recluse and accordingly living out most of his life on the internet,” he said.
Nelson was told by Judge Peter Armstrong that only custody could be justified.
He said: “You have an unhealthy interest in young girls...and you invited your victims to engage in sexual activity of the worst kind.”
Jailing Nelson for a total of four years, eight months, the judge also made him subject to an indefinite sexual offences prevention order which will prevent him from having any contact with anyone under the age of 16.
He was also told he would be unable to use any device connecting to the internet.
DC Fleming was commended by the judge for his work in the two month-long covert operation.