October 22 2014 Latest news:
Jane Ball, News editor
Monday, May 19, 2014
A man who offered a 13-year-old girl £1,000 to have sex with him via her Instragram account walked free from court on Thursday.
Peter Masterson, 51, spied on the girl, who was with her family in a park opposite McDonald’s restaurant in Hornchurch.
He found the girl’s Instagram account online and posted lewd comments on a picture of her in a bikini, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Masterson, of Hillview Avenue, Hornchurch, then offered the girl £1,000 to have sex with him and said he had seen her around town before.
The girl told her mother who called police about the comments posted on August 31.
Masterson, who cared for his sick mother for many years with no carer’s allowance, admitted everything put to him by police.
Judge Sarah Paneth told him: “The child in question is just 13.
“She noticed messages from you, you having an Instagram account, which are quite disgusting and would have been extremely disturbing for a young girl to read.
“I am satisfied you never intended to meet her.
“[But] It is clear there is at least an interest in young girls which is a great concern.
“I take into account you have devoted much of your life to the care of your mother and that you thought the world of her as she did of you.”
The judge sentenced Masterson to serve nine months in prison but suspended the term for two years.
Masterson’s mother passed away while he was in custody and he was unable to attend the funeral which caused him distress.
Masterson will undergo a year of supervision and remain under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the next ten years.
He admitted a single count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.