Man guilty of sex act in child’s presence

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A man from Cowlinge who chatted to a 15-year-old girl online as she bared her breasts has received a suspended prison sentence.

Tomas Oddy, 43, of Bradley Road, met a girl - who called herself Millie - through a chat site in the summer of last year, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said Oddy watched as Millie took off her top and showed him her breasts.

He persisted with contact, despite becoming aware of her age, and sent a string of ‘dirty messages’ after managing to get hold of her phone number.

Millie told police that during one of their online chats, she believed he was performing a sex act on himself.

In mitigation, Edward Renvoize said Oddy had no intention of meeting Millie and initially thought that she was older.

He said: “This was an enormous lapse of judgement on the part of Mr Oddy. There’s no suggestion that he has any particular interest in young girls.

“He made a series of very poor decisions which of course are criminal and he must face the consequences.”

Judge David Goodin told Oddy: “I’m satisfied that you meant her no ill and if you had been aware of the damage being caused then you wouldn’t have engaged in the activity.”

Oddy pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, with supervision.

He was also ordered to sign onto the sex offenders register for 10 years and to pay £250 towards prosecution costs.