Portsmouth predator who attempted to groom boys into sex on internet chat rooms is jailed

A PREDATORY sex offender who attempted to groom young boys on internet chat rooms was sent to jail for 40 months for his crimes.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 12:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 5:59 pm

Copnor resident Michael Palmieri started up conversations with a number of boys before attempting to seduce them between 2010 and 2017, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

But 60-year-old Palmieri, who also had a catalogue of vile indecent images and movies of children crying while being abused, was eventually caught out by an online police investigation.

The court heard how the defendant, who previously served 21 months in jail in 2003 after he crept into a 10-year-old boy’s bed before touching him, had tried to maintain his innocence.

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But his desperate attempts to convince police that he was not ‘interested in boys’ was shown up as bare-faced lies after overwhelming evidence of his offending.

Prosecutor Natasha Dardashti said: ‘The defendant said he thought he was talking to men posing as boys after revealing it was a fantasy of his.

‘In one exchange of messages, a boy said he was 14 years old and Mr Palmieri said he was 56.’

In other conversations the defendant pretended he had a son he abused and made graphic overtures to those on the receiving end in the chat rooms – including comments ‘I would love to see you naked’ and ‘that’s me daddy’.

During police interview in May 2018, Palmieri denied his involvement in the offences. Ms Dardashti said: ‘During his conversations online he said he thought the people he was talking to were adults posing as young boys.

‘He denied ever wanting to meet up and also denied he sent images. He said he had no interest in children but was just lonely and wanted someone to talk to. There was grooming behaviour and planning to what he was doing.’

In defence, Rob Bryan, said the images sent to chat room users were not of his own genitalia with his motivation ‘role play’.

Police investigations showed the defendant had 134 images on his computer and 132 movies showing various degrees of abuse being inflicted on children.

Palmieri, of Stubbington Avenue, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children, two charges of distributing indecent images and six counts of attempting to incite a child into sexual activity.

The offences were committed while he was serving a suspended prison term for driving while disqualified.

Judge William Ashworth said: ‘The effect on these children would have been demeaning and may lead to possible irreparable problem.’

He added: ‘The images showed children in extreme stress with some of them tied up with rope while they were crying. You accept your interest in young boys and failed to see the harm in your offending.’

Palmieri, who worked as a supervisor at Balfour Beatty, was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order as well as being locked up for 40 months.