Suspended sentence for 24-year-old man who arranged to meet “13-year-old boy” after “sexualised chats”


A 24-year-old Woolston man, who arranged to meet a 13-year-old boy after sexualised chats, walked free from court today. (Thursday)

Ezra Sutcliffe had been arrested by police when he turned up at a proposed rendezvous in Woolston and was found to have a tube of strawberry lubricant in his pocket.

The 13-year-old boy that Sutcliffe believed he was chatting to was actually an undercover police officer

Sutcliffe told officers, “We were just meeting. It was never my intention to do anything,” Arthur Gibson, prosecuting, told an earlier hearing.

Sutcliffe admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange the commission of a sex assault of a child.
Sutcliffe, of Linden Close, Woolston, was due for sentence at Liverpool Crown Court in February but this was adjourned until today following difficulties about assessing his mental health needs.

The court heard that the defendant began talking to the undercover officer on November 21 last year on Grindr though then moved to Snapchat.
He gave his real age and said, “I’m guessing you are wanting to bottom” and asked which school he attended. He later arranged to meet the ‘boy’ near shops by Dam Lane.
“He said he wanted to take him to a park and ‘get you naked’. He asked if he was willing to do more than kiss.”
En route to the rendezvous the ‘boy’ asked if he could get a bottle of vodka and Sutcliffe said he had some at his home.

Philip Tully, defending, said that the offences only spanned two days and he described him as “a very vulnerable young man” and said the offences were ”completely out of character.”
He had suffered major trauma in his life and suffered from complex PTSD. He was “clearly not thinking straight” at the time of the offences and has lost his employment as a result of them.
“He would benefit from the support of the Probation Service,” he said, adding that he could be referred to the Talking Matters service in Warrington.

While Judge Garrett Byrne was sentencing him, Sutcliffe sat in the dock, initially with his head in his hands and then leaning forward with his hands over his ears.
The judge said there was no doubt that he believed the boy he had arranged to meet for penetrative anal sex was 13 “but that did not stop you.”
He said he accepted he suffers from anxiety and depression and has complex PTSD and traumatic events in his background.
He sentenced him to two years imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 30 days rehabilitation activities. The judge also ordered him to attend 30 group sessions of the I-Horizon sex offenders programme.
“I appreciate you may find them daunting. Please do your best and participate as it will help you,” said Judge Byrne, who also ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.


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