Facebook groomer’s 1,000 child porn images

Tony Spencer.

Tony Spencer.

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Police found more than 1,000 pornographic images of children on a man’s computer after arresting him for grooming a 12-year-old girl on Facebook.

Tony Spencer, 34, was caught after he made friends with the youngster on the social networking site before telling her his name, mobile phone number, where he lived and worked and sending photographs of himself.

Leeds Crown Court heard he kept in contact with the youngster over a 12-week period in which he described her as “sexy”, asked to meet her and they discussed sexual positions.

Spencer also told the girl he loved her and wanted to go to her house for sex. After his arrest, Spencer’s computer was seized from his home and 1,018 illegal images were discovered.

Richard Wright, prosecuting, said Spencer initially told police that an old school friend had forced him to download the images and meet him in a park to hand them over to him.

But it was discovered his story was untrue after he had continued to download images after the date he claimed to have met the man.

Spencer, of Westgate, Cleckheaton, pleaded guilty to one offence of inciting a child under 12 to engage in sexual activity and 23 offences of making an indecent photograph of a child.

Freddy Apfel, mitigating, said the vast majority of the images, 1,008 of them, were at level one, the least serious kind.

Mr Apfel said Spencer had stopped downloading the images long before he was arrested. The barrister described it as an unusual case as Spencer’s offending was due to his low intelligence and he had accessed the images out of curiosity.

He said there was never any intention of him meeting the girl and there was no evidence of her being adversely affected by his contact with her.

Judge Geoffrey Marson said he was taking the “exceptional” option of giving Spencer a three-year community and supervision order rather than sending him to prison.

He also ordered him to go on a sex offender’s treatment programme to understand his behaviour.

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