A PAEDOPHILE who persistently tried to entice a 12-year-old to perform sex acts over the internet has been spared jail because of delays to his case caused by the lockdown.
Paul Appleton was warned that a custodial sentence ‘was almost inevitable’ after he was found guilty in March of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
The married 47-year-old also sent explicit images of himself to the ‘girl’ who was really an undercover police officer. He claimed he believed he was involved in role-play with an adult but a jury at Warwick crown court rejected his ‘ludicrous defence’.
Sentencing Appleton, of Rugby, Judge Anthony Potter said ‘the circumstances that have arisen since March 12, and the delay caused’ led him to conclude ‘in this particular instance I can draw back from immediate imprisonment’.
Appleton was handed a two-year suspended sentence and 200 hours of unpaid work. He must also take part in rehabilitation, register as a sex offender for ten years and pay £800 costs.