Alastair Reed, 23, of Knowle Wood Road, Solihull, made contact with an alleged London-born “Crazy Maisie” on January 10 last year on the social media site MyLOL, which targets high school-age children, prosecutor Sarah Badrawy told Chester Crown Court on Monday.
A student collapsed in the dock when he learned he was going to jail for trying to sexually satisfy a young teenage girl who was actually an undercover cop.
Alastair Reed logged on to the Internet in Runcorn when he made sexual requests and suggested a meeting.
A similar exchange took place the following day when the undercover policeman also asked him what he was doing and Reed said he was performing a sexual act on himself.
Reed urged her to perform a sexual act on herself and said he could “teach her something”.
The apparent teenager told Reed that she was 13 years old, while Reed – under the pseudonym “Tom9” – claimed to be 17 years old, although she was 21 at the time.
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He also asked for nude pictures, but was refused.
Reed – who, the court heard, had previously done charity work in Liverpool – asked if she wanted to meet and said he “lived near Birmingham” and could catch the train.
When the conversation shifted to Kik Messenger, he asked for a picture of “Maisie” in her underwear and was rejected again.
He was arrested on April 2 last year and in a police interview he made “no comment” on all the questions.
Miss Badrawy said the sentence had a starting point of five years with a range of four to ten years.
Reed later pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to induce a child under the age of 16, namely 13, to engage in sexual activity.
Reed had no criminal record.
She said that Reed had made no effort to “downplay or justify his behavior” and that he had independently sought assistance through the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to address his problems, including counseling and courses.
Jo Maxwell, the defense attorney, argued that a suspended sentence could be imposed in accordance with the recommendations of the “highly experienced” probation officer from the 27-year pre-conviction report, as there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and Reed could complete the Horizon program and unpaid work.
Miss Maxwell said that Reed was seeking a master’s degree in engineering and had a supportive family and partner who were in court, and that he had done charity work in Liverpool, but had also shown signs of “immaturity”.
She added that there had been a considerable delay in bringing the case to court, with the postal claim delivered on 23 March this year causing “considerable” despair, and his offence had been “isolated”.
Reed was “deeply saddened by his actions,” she said.