Trowbridge man jailed after pleading guilty to sexual communication with a child
A Trowbridge man has been jailed for five years after pleading guilty to sexual communication with a child.
Gary Palmer, 42, of The Halve, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual communication with a child and nine counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
He was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court yesterday (21/12) to five years with an extension period of three years following a joint investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) and the Child Internet Exploitation Team at Wiltshire Police.
He will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order.
Between 21 September 2021 and 18 October 2021, Palmer engaged in conversation online with what he thought was a young girl. He spoke in detail about sexual activity he wanted to carry out on the girl, who he believed to be just 12-years-old. He then instructed her to carry out a sexual act on herself. During his communication with the profile, Palmer also sent videos of himself performing sexual acts.
During this investigation, there was never a real life victim and no children were ever in any danger.
Detective Constable Julia Vince said: “We often work in conjunction with other agencies, such as the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, to both protect children and ensure offenders are identified and arrested.
“The work we do undoubtedly prevents offenders like Palmer from going on and abusing vulnerable children and I hope this case sends a strong message to our communities that we are committed to targeting serious offenders who have the potential to cause serious and significant harm.
“We would urge anyone who has concerns that a child they know may be being abused or exploited, to report this to the police. You can find out more information here: www.wiltshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/caa/child-abuse/“
Detective Inspector David Wells from the SWROCU’s Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Online team said: “Palmer clearly posed a serious risk to children, persistently communicating with what he believed was a young girl online.
“This is a vital area of work for our unit, working closely with our regional forces, to target offenders operating online to exploit and abuse children.
“Law enforcement agencies are across the internet determined to ensure they don’t succeed. It is vital parents and children themselves take steps to protect against the threat.”
The NSPCC website has clear and extensive advice for parents and carers, children and young people, and professionals.
If you are worried about something that has happened to your child online, report it to CEOP.
If you have concerns about your own use of the internet or inappropriate thoughts or behaviour about children, or you are worried about how someone you know behaves, then contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation