A MAN communicating with what he believed to be a 42-year-old woman, ‘Lia’, who he met via a nudists’ chat site, became particularly interested on being told she had a seven-year-old daughter.

Paul Edward McGuigan increasingly made reference to the girl, ‘Poppy’, in the chats with ‘Lia’, which moved to What’s App and phone calls.

Durham Crown Court was told that as the conversation became more sexualised he asked ‘Lia’ if he could meet ‘Poppy’ and suggested they all shared a bed, naked.

McGuigan said ‘Poppy’ could “explore and have fun” with his body and said he would be aroused seeing ‘Lia’ and ‘Poppy’ naked together.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said at one stage McGuigan asked to speak to ‘Poppy’ and believed he was chatting to the girl.

The exchanges went on between Mat 27 and June 18, last year, but Mr Abrahams said, in reality, McGuigan had fallen for a decoy profile, posted by police.

Officers attended McGuigan’s home in Consett on June 19 and he was arrested.

Examination of his phone revealed the exchanges with ‘Lia’ and ‘Poppy’, plus other material indicative of an interest in underage girls.

The defendant, 48, of Berry Edge View, Consett, admitted attempted sexual communication with a child. Sentence was adjourned tor preparation of a background probation report on McGuigan.

Mark Styles, for McGuigan, said he has no previous convictions and stated the report suggested he did not fit the criteria to attend a sex offenders’ treatment programme, on the basis that he was assessed as a “low risk” of re-offending.

“There’s a suggested alternative built into the report and it can be viewed as ‘realistic’, in the very unusual circumstances of this case.”

Judge Ray Singh agreed and imposed a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

But McGuigan must attend 40 probation-supervised rehabilitation activity days.

“What you need is help and the public expect you not to pose any danger in future.

“If there’s any breach of this sentence you need to understand it will be a prison sentence,” added the judge.

He also made McGuigan subject of registration as a sex offender and restrictions under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for ten years.

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