Man was blackmailed after online sexual contact with ‘boy’

A man who was involved in sexualised chats online with someone he believed to be a 15-year-old boy ended up being blackmailed, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Martin Hodgkin exchanged messages with the “boy” on WhatsApp and got to the stage where they talked about possibly meeting up.

Noel Philo, prosecuting, told the court: “The person the defendant was communicating with made it clear that he was 15-years-old and from Dublin. He said he was staying with his family in Lincoln.

“The communication became of a sexual nature with them telling each other what they would like to do. They got to the stage where they tentatively arranged a meeting.

“Very shortly after that telephone calls and messages started arriving to the defendant demanding £2,000 from someone claiming to be a vigilante.”

Mr Philo said that as a result of the messages that Hodgkin received he went to Sleaford Police Station and handed himself in saying he believed he had been in contact with an underage boy online.

The prosecutor said that as a result of what Hodgkin revealed the Police Service of Northern Ireland has commenced an inquiry into a person suspected of blackmail.

Hodgkin, 63, of Pinfold Lane, Ruskington, admitted a charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He was given a one year community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 20 days. He was also ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said: “This was a one-off act of utter stupidity in the context of a level of loneliness.

“He had the courage to go to the police and put his hands up albeit under threat of blackmail. Here there was no child harmed in the commission of this offence.”