A man who groomed a 14 year old girl for sex has escaped a prison sentence because a judge said it would be insufficient for him to have the treatment and support he needs.
Tristan Tapner, 33, of Culverhill Cottages, Pilton, “met” the girl on Skype and asked her if she liked older man and wanted to spend a night with him, to which she said yes, Taunton Crown Court was told.
Their conversations were sexually explicit, they exchanged indecent photos and he asked for pictures of her in her school uniform, said William Hunter, prosecuting.
They agreed to meet for sex in his car, but rumours got around and an anonymous caller tipped off the police, who met the girl. She told them she was meeting Tapner for sex the following day. Officers were waiting and he was arrested.
Mr A. Western, defending, said Tapner, a forklift truck driver, was ashamed at what he had done.
Sentencing him to a three-year community order with a Thames Valley sex offenders’ programme, Judge David Ticehurst said society would be better protected if he learned the reasons for his perverted behaviour.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders programme for five years and put on a sex offenders prevention order without time limit.
The judge said Skype and other social media “provided an opportunity for sexual predators and others to target young, vulnerable people and abuse them”.
Giving credit for the guilty pleas to inciting a child to sexual activity and sexual grooming, he added “I am satisfied you demonstrated genuine remorse for your actions and that your behaviour had not gone further. The offences were committed 15 months ago and there’s been no repetition”.
Tapner was also ordered to pay costs of £1,900 at £20 a week.