Northumberland man jailed after sexually explicit online conversation he thought was with 14-year-old was actually with undercover police officer

A pervert claimed “age is just a number” during a sexually explicit online conversation he thought he was having with an underage girl.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:44 pm
Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.

John MacDonald believed he was chatting to a 14-year-old called Paige over the Kik messenger internet app in July 2018.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard Paige's profile had been set up by an undercover police officer who was conducting the conversations.

MacDonald, of North Ancroft Farm Cottages, Ancroft, was traced via his internet address. Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced him to 26 months behind bars following guilty pleas.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court MacDonald, a married 47-year-old, said he was on the site for a “little fun”.

Miss Dowling said the messages sent by MacDonald, who has a previous conviction for distributing indecent images of children in 2007, were “almost all”sexual in nature.Miss Dowling added: “She said she was a virgin and one of his comments was 'you want your first time to be memorable, that's why you should do it with an older man, someone with more experience, who can give you pleasure in different ways'.”

The court heard MacDonald described in graphic detail how they could have “fun” together and instructed her on how she could perform a sexual act onherself.

When police searched his internet devices they found one indecent image of child, which was the least serious category of the type.

MacDonald pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent photograph of a child.

As well as being sentenced to 26 months behind bars, he must abide by a sexual harm prevention order and sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Judge Sloan said MacDonald's messages were “highly sexualised” and added: “You told her age was just a number.”

The court heard that MacDonald has employment and helps out at his wife's horse riding equipment business in the borders.

Mark Styles, defending, said MacDonald thought he had “conquered” his problem after the conviction in 2007.

The court heard that MacDonald has expressed “shame” for his behaviour and has taken steps to try and deal with it.