Man jailed for pretending to be teenager - Hatfield

29/11/2013

A middle-aged man who pretended to be a teenager to persuade girls to send explicit pictures of themselves to him over the internet was jailed for 27 months on Friday, 29 November 2013.

Anthony Harwood, 53, from Hatfield must also register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his life.

Police found the images on laptops they seized after raiding his home last year, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Michael Speak prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Harwood told the officers: "I have been stupid. You have got evidence. What can I say. I thought I would get away with it, but I haven't."

Mr Speak said: "In chat rooms he posed first as a young teenage girl, but in all those instances he later declared himself to be who he was."

When he was questioned in June this year he told the police he had contacted the Lucy Faithfull Foundation - a charity that works with adult sex abusers.

Harwood of The Downs, Hatfield appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to 12 charges of making indecent images of children, 2 of possessing indecent images of children, 1 of possessing extreme pornography, and 7 of distributing indecent images of children.

Andrew Kerry, defending, he was of previous good character. He asked for a suspended sentence to be passed saying Harwood could attend the Thames Valley Sex Offender Programme.

But Judge Andrew Bright QC sent him straight to jail saying: "It is about time that Crown Courts send out the message to men, who persist in passing themselves off as youngsters can expect the courts to take a very serious view."

When he is released, Harwood must not be in unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 and must allow the police to examine the history of use on his computers.

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