Man sent sexual messages to chatroom user he thought was 13-year-old girl in care

A 66-year-old man engaged in overtly sexual online conversations with an undercover police officer who he believed was a 13-year-old girl in care, a court has heard.

Timothy Dowd believed he was talking with a teenager when he urged a fellow chatroom user to send him pictures of her breasts and engage in “phone sex” with him, prosecutors allege.

Leeds Crown Court heard on Tuesday how he was using a site named Lycos when he met “Chantelle”, a female police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Jurors were told how Dowd, of Chatsworth Grove in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, told her that her age “was not a problem” for him.

He is also alleged to have audio called her via WhatsApp so the pair could mutually pleasure themselves over the phone, telling her she had a “sexy voice”.

Dowd denies three counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and a count of attempting to engage in sexual conversations with a child for the purpose of sexual gratification.

The court heard how the defendant does not dispute the content of any of the conversations that he had with the chatroom user but says he believed she was aged 16 or over.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Rupert Doswell said: “On January 12 2018, a female undercover police officer, whose real identity will remain anonymous, was deployed in an online capacity as part of an operation to catch child sex offenders.”

The court heard how the officer, known only as “Alex”, signed up for the chatroom with the username Chantelle13Cymru and declared herself to be aged 16 on her profile to comply with the site’s rules.

Jurors were told the user was quickly invited into a private chat with Dowd and swiftly declared she was a 13-year-old.

Mr Doswell explained how the defendant remarked the user was too young to be on the site “but then asked her whether she had had phone sex”.

The pair then exchanged numbers and started talking on WhatApp, where Dowd continued to ask her sexual questions before requesting she delete their messages.

Mr Doswell added: “The defendant may have believed that the chatroom was being monitored and believed that WhatsApp would provide a much safer environment.”

On January 13 last year, just a day after their first conversation, he then phoned up “Chantelle” via WhatsApp, requesting she sexually touch herself while he pleasured himself, the court heard.

The intimate conversations are said to have continued until January 15, at which point Dowd started to suspect, according to prosecutors, that he was the subject of an undercover sting.

The court heard how he once again asked the “girl” about her age, before demanding she send a picture of herself in order to clarify her identity.

Mr Doswell said that, on January 19, officers attended a property in East Keswick, Leeds, where Dowd’s phone was seized and he was arrested.

The trial, which is expected to last two days, continues.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Chris Radburn / PA Wire.