South Yorkshire dad caught attempting to incite what he thought was 12-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity

A South Yorkshire dad has received a suspended sentence for sending explicit messages and attempting to incite sexual activity with someone he believed to be a 12-year-old girl.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 11:34 am

35-year-old Garry Milner was caught out by an undercover officer posing as a girl online after he began using the internet platforms Kick and Chatiw, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Milner, of Cobcar Lane, Barnsley initiated contact with the officer’s profile of a 12-year-old “girl” named Veronica on December 14 last year, said Ian West, prosecuting.

Mr West added: “Very quickly the messaging moved to dirty talk...he asked her questions and made enquiries about the knickers she was wearing and whether she’d take them off.”

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A man who contacted the profile of a 12-year-old girl was in fact communicating with an undercover police officer.

During the course of their communication, Milner invited the “girl” to touch herself and described pleasuring himself to her on at least one occasion, the court heard.

“On several occasions there were references made to underwear and what he would do if they were sat next to each other,” said Mr West.

Milner was subsequently charged with, and pleaded guilty to, three sex offences including attempting to incite a female child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity.

Chris Aspinall, defending, said Milner had expressed genuine “remorse” and had made “full and frank admissions” to the police.

Mr Aspinall said Milner had a low-risk of reoffending and said the Probation Service had suggested he would be suitable for management within the community through an intensive sex offenders’ programme of some 40 sessions.

“If he were to be incarcerated, because of the type of offending, he would be incarcerated with other sex offenders and many of them do not have the same view [of their offending] that he does. They do not view what they have done as something wrong or something to be regretted,” added Mr Aspinall.

Passing sentence, Judge Graham Reeds QC said he had taken Milner's remorse, his lack of previous convictions, and the fact his offending had effectively “destroyed his marriage” and put his relationship with his son “at risk,” into consideration.

He sentenced Milner to 32 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement which includes 40 sessions on a sex offenders’ programme.

Milner has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, and will be the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) for the same period.

Under a SHPO, defendants have to comply with certain conditions, some of which may relate to their use of the internet, and could face a prison sentence if they breach them.

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