Hawick man got nine-year-old girl to send intimate pics

A carpet fitter who bombarded a nine-year-old girl with indecent images of naked women and requests for her to send him pictures of her engaged in sexual activity has narrowly avoided a jail sentence.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 5:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 5:21 pm
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

Sean Ward, 24, of Hawick, pleaded guilty to the offences which happened at his High Street home on November 14.

A previous hearing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told that at 10.58am on a Saturday, the girl was contacted on Instagram – a forum in which strangers can engage in conversation – from an account called Sean Jay Ward1996.

At first, Ward began asking the girl to send her pictures.

Ward then bombarded the girl with images of grown women in pornographic poses, urging her to do the same, and send him pictures back, but she replied she was only nine.

Eventually, the girl sent Ward an intimate picture of herself.

The court heard Ward kept making comments such as: "Yes, keep doing that."

As well as the pictures there was a video chat between Ward and the girl.

In all there were 31 images, two videos and one video call exchanged between the pair.

The girl's mother was alerted to what was going on and checked her phone and the contents, but she could not bear to view them.

Ward appeared in court from custody and was released on bail with various conditions including signing on at Hawick Police Station.

The court was also told Ward had a previous conviction from 2017 for possessing indecent images of children for which he was ordered to carry lout 100 hours unpaid work and placed on supervision for two years.

Defence lawyer Ross Dow pointed out his client was 23 at the time of the offence.

He said a Community Pay Back order could be imposed as an alternative to custody but accepted it should be "at the upper end to reflect the gravity of the offence."

Sheriff David Clapham said he would follow the recommendation in the social enquiry report by imposing a three year Community Pay Back order with supervision, 250 hours of unpaid work and a Restriction of Liberty Order keeping him in his High Street home between the hours of 8p.m. and 5a.m.

He is not allowed to use the Internet subject to approval from his social worker and is banned from having contact with any person under 16 years of age.

Ward has also been made subject to the Sex Offenders Register notifications for three years.