Sheffield Crown Court heard on November 19 how Mark Harrigan, aged 35, of Halifax Crescent, at Bentley Rise, Doncaster, struck up a sexual conversation online and shared sexual images with an undercover officer who was posing as a 12-year-old girl.
Harrigan pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a child aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and to attempting for a child to be present online while engaging in sexual activity by sending sexual images of himself.
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Judge David Dixon told Harrigan: “You fall to be sentenced for two horrible offences against what you believed to be a 12-year-old child.
"For the first you have engaged in conversation and having sought to cajole and almost blackmail what you believed to be the child into doing acts.
"You tried to persuade that ‘12-year-old child’ to engage in oral sex with you and more.”
Judge Dixon added that during the second offence Harrigan had tried to get photographs and live-video calls and sent live video footage of himself touching his genitals.
Harrigan also tried to lure the online contact into more private conversations via more discreet chat facilities, according to Judge Dixon.
He told Harrigan: “Your particular proclivities are to talk and look at young girls and you have to accept that because until you do you pose a significant risk to young women.”
Defence barrister Ian West stressed that warehouse operator Harrigan has no previous convictions and that this case had involved an undercover officer and not a real child.
Mr West added: “He apologises to the court through me for what he has done. He stresses he is remorseful for his actions.”
However, Judge Dixon sentenced Harrigan to 48 months of custody and made him subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.
He told Harrigan: “You were determined and doing all you could to engage what you thought was a 12-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct for a young man who had paedophilic interests.”
Judge Dixon added: “In my view you are a dangerous offender but I do not believe I have the power available for you to serve an extended sentence.”