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'You might be a police officer' -paedophile jokes on online chat -then learns he's right; Robin Byrne carried out sexually explicit chat while pretending to be a 19-year-old soldier.

Byline: By, Tom Mack

A paedophile ended up behind bars after joking he was on an online chat with police officer -- then later finding out he actually was.

Robin Byrne, who previously served time in prison for possessing child pornography, carried out sexually explicit chat while pretending to be a 19-year-old soldier.

He was chatting to someone claiming to be a 13-year-old girl called Little Miss Sparkles -and sent indecent pictures to a them.

Then he let slip he had to be careful in case she was secretly a police officer -which turned out to be true, reports LeicestershireLive.

Byrne pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity in November 2018 at Leicester Crown Court.

He also admitted two counts of attempting to engage a child in sexual communications

Prosecutor James Varley said: "Teen Chat Forum is designed for teenagers and not middle-aged men.

"Little Miss Sparkles made the claim she was 13 but that didn't deter the defendant."

Describing their third chat, on December 3, 2018, Mr Varley said: "He said he would have to be careful because she might be a police officer. And, of course, she was."

After he was arrested by Leicestershire Police, Byrne gave no comment and his computers were seized so the case could be built against him.

His previous conviction in 2006, for possessing child porn, had resulted in a 42-month sentence.

Helen Johnson, representing Byrne, said he was accused of failing to "engage fully" during group sessions for offenders after his earlier conviction. But she said he was now ready to talk about his "perverse fantasies" having opened up to other people that he had been abused as a child.

She said: "He said he was sexually abused as a child but it was a family secret and he continued to have a good relationship with that person, who died seven years ago.

"He has now disclosed that but that's still something he's coming to terms with."

She said Byrne, of Main Street, Thornton, near Coalville, would lose his job if he was jailed and that he was the main breadwinner for his wife and daughter, working full-time with long hours.

Urging Judge Ebrahim Mooncey to give her client a community order, she said: "We ask that given his remorse that Your Honour allow him to work with the probation service.

"There has been no contact with a real child."

But the judge jailed Byrne for 16 months.

Imposing the sentence, he said: "When one looks at the communications you had with this fake person it's very worrying indeed.

"You posed as a 19-year-old soldier and you went onto a forum designed for teens with the aim of talking to a teenager and very quickly you have communications that are very disturbing indeed.

"The fact the person doesn't exist obviously has an impact on sentencing but there are children out there who do fall for these sorts of suggestions and it's very worrying indeed.

"There's not just words but pictures of your privates being sent out. Clearly there is grooming going on here and blatant lies about the age disparity.

"This is not a case where I can suspend a sentence. I take the view it's very serious indeed."

Byrne's head dropped as the judge told him he would be given jail sentence as well as a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

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Title Annotation:Local News
Author:By, Tom Mack
Publication:Coventry Telegraph (Coventry, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2020
Words:569
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