Man blackmailed after online chats with teenager

Court news. EMN-150910-150125001
Court news. EMN-150910-150125001

A man who was involved in sexualised chats online with someone he believed to be a 15 year old boy ended up being blackmailed, Lincoln Crown Court has been told.

Martin Hodgkin, 63, of Pinfold Lane, Ruskington, exchanged messages with the “boy” on WhatsApp.

Noel Philo, prosecuting, told the court: “The person the defendant was communicating with made it clear that he was 15 years old and from Dublin. He said he was staying with his family in Lincoln.

“The communication became of a sexual nature with them telling each other what they would like to do. They got to the stage where they tentatively arranged a meeting.

“Very shortly after that, telephone calls and messages started arriving to the defendant demanding £2,000 from someone claiming to be a vigilante.”

Mr Philo said as a result of the messages Hodgkin received he went to Sleaford Police Station and handed himself in saying he believed he had been in contact with an underage boy online.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has commenced an inquiry into a person suspected of blackmail.

Hodgkin admitted a charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. He was given a one year community order with a rehabilitation activity of up to 20 days. He was also ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said it was a one-off act of “utter stupidity” from loneliness.

“He had the courage to go to the police and put his hands up albeit under threat of blackmail. There was no child harmed in the commission of this offence.”