Christchurch man Joshua Towns given suspended prison term for sending sex messages to New Forest children
A CHRISTCHURCH man who sent sex messages to New Forest children has been spared prison.
Last Friday's sentencing of Joshua Towns (21), of Slinn Road, Somerford, marked the end of a two-year investigation into offences said to have been committed against three youngsters between October 2018 and May 2019.
A 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, was issued by the Poole Bench for numerous offences of engaging in sexual communication with children.
The court heard that over an eight-month period he exchanged messages, often of a highly sexual nature, with a child who he did not reasonably believe to be over the age of 16.
A subsequent investigation uncovered numerous sexualised conversations with two further youngsters believed to be under 16.
Towns was also made subject to a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told to pay £225 in court charges.
Speaking after the sentencing, PC Jonathan Kennett praised all those who helped the investigation.
“In a day and age where social media is so prevalent in young people’s lives, and the ease in which messages can be sent by people unknown to them, it is incredibly important that we, as the police, are in a position to investigate such offences,” he said.
“An extensive two-year investigation has now concluded, and I would like to thank all those involved in the case, whose hard work and dedication, has resulted in a person being brought to justice for the offences they have committed.
“We want to continue to protect any vulnerable people, including young children, against possible sexual exploitation and I hope that this conviction shows the lengths that we will go to investigate any such claims.”
PC Kennett said he hoped the case would heighten public awareness, including among young children’s parents, of the potential dangers posed by digital communication. He also hoped it would encourage child sex abuse victims to come forward, regardless of when it took place.
He continued: “We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will always seek to bring those responsible for committing these offences to justice.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse to contact police on 101 where you can speak with our specialist detectives in confidence.”