A MAN has been jailed for 18 months for sending indecent images to a troubled and vulnerable 13-year-old boy he met on an adult gay chatline.
The youngster became infatuated with Daniel Crockford, who was ten years his senior, and threatened to kill himself when he stopped returning his messages, Bradford Crown Court heard.
He has to live every single day with what you and your kind have done to himJudge Jonathan Rose
Crockford, 28, of Ernest Road, Bedhampton, pleaded guilty to causing a child to watch a sex act in January, 2011.
Prosecutor Matthew Bean said Crockford began communicating with the boy, who is from the Bradford area, on Facebook and PingChat and by text message.
Mr Bean said the boy at first looked on the supermarket worker as a big brother, but by the end of 2010, he believed they were in a relationship.
He urged Crockford to travel to West Yorkshire to meet up with him but he never did.
Crockford, who called the child ‘Lil Man’, knew he was just 13, Mr Bean told the court.He sent the boy photos of himself clothed, followed by three indecent images he later told the police were not of him.
The court heard that the boy’s parents became very concerned about him. His mother rang Crockford but he refused to stop contacting her son.
The child’s father traced the defendant to the supermarket where he worked and, after contacting him, he did not reply to the boy, except to tell him he was too busy to chat.
Crockford was arrested in January last year and told the police he believed at first that the boy was 18.
His solicitor advocate, Ray Singh, pointed out that the indecent images were stills and not live footage.
The boy asked for photos and Crockford ‘foolishly and stupidly’ Googled the three pictures and sent them to him.
Crockford was of good character and committed the offence almost five years ago.
‘He realises in the cold light of day the horror of what he did,’ Mr Singh said.
Crockford, who was 23 at the time, was himself discovering his sexuality and allowed the troubled boy to confide in him, the court was told.
Judge Jonathan Rose made a sexual harm prevention order and said Crockford must sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.
The case was the last in a string of sentences dealt out over the last few years to men from across the country for abusing the boy.
The teenager’s father described his son’s abusers as ‘degenerate’, the court was told.
Judge Rose told Crockford: ‘He has to live every single day with what you and your kind have done to him.’
Crockford had ‘contributed hugely’ to the suffering of the family.