A SWANSEA man has been sentenced to prison after engaging in inappropriate online conversations and sending explicit images to individuals he believed were underage girls. Stewart Conn, 33, exchanged messages via Facebook with two girls named ‘Lilly’ and ‘Libby,’ whom he thought were 13 years old. However, it was later revealed that these individuals were adult decoys working with the police.
The court heard that Conn initiated conversations with the girls on April 15 of this year, befriending them on the social media platform. Initially, he messaged ‘Lilly,’ inquiring about her activities and subsequently sent her a picture of his penis. Conn quickly apologised, claiming that the image was sent accidentally due to a technical problem with his phone. Unfortunately, despite learning that ‘Lilly’ was only 13 years old, he persisted in sending explicit images. In fact, he sent the same picture of his penis more than 20 times and even asked the girl for her thoughts on it.
Prosecution barrister Brian Simpson provided further details, explaining that Conn engaged in a similar manner with another person, ‘Libby,’ whom he also believed to be 13. Conn repeated his claim of a faulty phone, sending her explicit images of his penis and then deleting them, only after ensuring that ‘Libby’ had seen them. Shockingly, he requested a photo of ‘Libby’ and upon receiving an image of a young girl, he described her as “sexy.” He further made inappropriate comments, expressing a desire to see her in the shower and suggesting he could be “her first.”
Unbeknownst to Conn, both ‘Lilly’ and ‘Libby’ were adult decoys, and the details of their conversations were promptly reported to the police. Upon investigation, officers discovered that Conn’s bedroom, as depicted in the images sent online, matched the layout of his actual residence. Consequently, he was arrested and charged.
During the court proceedings, Conn admitted to attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity involving penetration. In his defence, Conn’s counsel, Robin Rouch, explained that his client had withdrawn from in-person socialising following the death of his grandmother and had shifted his social interactions primarily to online platforms. It was also revealed that Conn had been diagnosed with ADHD during his childhood. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the wrongfulness of his actions.
Addressing Conn directly, Judge Paul Thomas KC made clear his disapproval of the defendant’s behavior, stating, “You were communicating online with what you firmly believed were two 13-year-old girls.” Judge Thomas further noted that Conn had a serious issue with pedophilia. As a result, Conn received a prison sentence of three years and three months, with half of the term to be served behind bars and the other half under license. In addition, Conn was subjected to a sexual harm prevention order and required to register as a sex offender indefinitely.