8 Sep 2016

Man jailed for graphic online chat with fictitious 13-year-old

5:55 pm on 8 September 2016

A man who sent graphic online messages to a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl has been jailed for two years and three months.

Ian Walsh was sentenced this afternoon in the Wellington District Court on charges of sexual grooming, having indecent communication with a young person and making an indecent publication.

Earlier this year he signed up to a website where he made contact with a fictitious 13-year-old, who was actually a police officer, and said he would like to meet her.

Between May and June Walsh sent hundreds of messages, expressing a desire to photograph the 'girl', massage her and give her alcohol.

The messages escalated, with Walsh ultimately saying he wanted to have sex with her.

The person on the other end of the messages confirmed her age and that she was at high school, but Judge Peter Hobbs said that did not seem to matter to Walsh.

He said Walsh continued to describe his sexual intentions and said the messages had to be kept secret from her parents or he would go to jail.

Walsh offered to meet the girl after a netball game, but when he arrived at a McDonald's restaurant as they'd arranged, he was arrested.

His lawyer, Chris Tennet, said the court should recognise that the target was actually fictitious, but Judge Hobbs said that made no difference to Walsh's offending and the legislation was implemented to protect people from predatory behaviour.

The charge relating to making an indecent publication related to Walsh's filming of a four minute live video of a naked prepubescent girl, which was streamed to his laptop computer.

Judge Hobbs said the focus was on the child's genitals and Walsh could be heard giving directions to the person operating the camera.

He said there were several aggravating features to that offence, including the age of the child and Walsh's instructions to the person filming.