A MAN who sent sexually explicit messages and photographs to children has been put behind bars.

Timothy McCarthy, of Sherbourne Court, Pontypool, appeared before Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to three charges of attempting sexual communication with a child, one charge of attempting to meet a child from sexual grooming, three charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and one charge of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

From July 2018 to March 2019 the 60-year-old engaged in separate sexual exchanges on Facebook with, who he believed to be, three 14-year-old girls.

But unbeknown to McCarthy the accounts were decoys by paedophile hunting groups.

“There were no real children involved,” explained Timothy Evans who was prosecuting.

“There were three created personalities that he did engage in and approach via Facebook.

"It is not accepted that in any way that they trapped him [or] encouraged him to do what he did.

"The first one was a child personality of 14 years of age.

"He initiated contact with her and immediately told him that she was only 14. After only about 15 minutes he started talking sexually. He asked her if she had boobs yet.

"He asked her to send photos of her breasts. He sent pictures of his genitals.”

McCarthy then initiated a rendezvous at Cardiff Station, where a citizen’s arrest was performed by the paedophile hunting group.

Following his arrest, he was later released, pending an investigation by police.

Mr Evans also said that McCarthy made conversations of a sexual nature with another Facebook decoy account.

"The approach of these groups is to say that they are 14 years of age right from the beginning.

"The defendant told her he did not care about her age and wanted to teach her about sex."


And despite being under investigation, McCarthy made conversation with a third decoy Facebook account in March 2019.

"A Facebook account was created again and the date of birth was clear," said Mr Evans. 

"Again, [the group] do not seek out people and wait until contacted and was contacted by the defendant.

"He would go on to suggest that she should lie on the bed naked."

Ieuan Bennett, mitigating, said: "The pre-sentence report says he is not a person engaging in unlawful behaviour on a normal basis.

"He knows he has to serve a prison sentence and he will find it difficult because of his age and poor health."

But Judge David Williams described McCarthy’s communications as “warped".

He said: "You pleaded guilty to a number of charges.

"Because there was no actual child no harm was actually done to them. But that was your intention. Even Among the categories of communications, like this, yours was particularly warped and you have a deep-rooted sexual interest in young children.

“The offences went on for a period of time.

“Your online presence is an utterly horrifying thought.”

He sentenced McCarthy to serve 18 months in prison. He was also subjected to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.