Man who believed he was having sex chats with 14-year-old boy walks free from court with wife by side


A Glazebury man who had online sex chats with an undercover police officer believing it was a 14-year-old boy has walked free from court, with his wife by his side.

Christopher Birchall was actually talking to an undercover police officer who had set up a decoy account on the dating app Grindr.

Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court how the sexualised conversations chats took place between June 7 and 13 last year.

She said that Birchall, 44, contacted the decoy asking what he wanted to try and said he was from Birchwood. He kept asking about sexual activity and the conversation moved to Snapchat.
The defendant sent a message that he was ‘horny’, and when the boy said he was aged 14, Birchall said he was 39.
The pair exchanged photos showing their faces and Birchall asked about sexual acts and the boy’s sexual experience with other men.
Conversations involved asking whether they were looking for ‘something serious’ and when they discussed possibly meeting up Birchall commented that their chat could be a ‘trap’.

Miss Nemat said that Birchall asked the boy if he could sneak out and the boy asked if the defendant could pick him up.
Birchall requested a video chat saying he would ‘never meet someone without one’ first, but on June 13, when the boy again confirmed he was aged 14, the defendant said he was ‘too young, sorry’ and deleted him from Snapchat.
Police armed with a search warrant arrested him at his home on July 4. During an interview he told officers that he was not serious and it was ‘just a bit of fun’. He said that he had never met up with anyone.
He also said it was just sex chat but with the ‘wrong person’, and that it was just ‘fantasy’ while his wife was away.
Jeremy Rawson, defending, said that Birchall has no previous convictions and he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He pointed out that a real child was not involved.
Birchall, of Waltham Avenue in Glazebury, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communications with a child.

Sentencing him Judge Garrett Byrne said, “You engaged in disgusting chats with someone you believed was a 14-year-old boy,”
“When they told you they were 14, it did nothing to stop you. You made worrying comments about meeting up, but I accept you ended the conversation not having done so.”
He said that Birchall, whose wife was in the public gallery, was in “complete denial.”
He sentenced him to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered him to complete the Horizon sex offender treatment programme, carry out 30 rehabilitation activity days and 80 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Byrne also imposed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for the same length of time.


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