Pensioner, 70, sentenced after ‘social media sex chats’ with ‘underage girls’

A married pensioner who engaged in social media sex chat with what he thought were two young girls was caught in a sting operation, Lincoln Crown Court was told today (Friday).

Lincoln Crown Court

Stephen Corlett, 70, of Owmby, near Caistor, initially made contact over Chat Hour with someone he believed to be a 14 year old girl from Manchester called Jennifer.

David Outterside, prosecuting, said that on the first day they chatted the ‘girl’ made it clear she was only 14, but Corlett continued to chat and switched the conversation on to WhatsApp.

Corlett went on to gain the girl’s trust during their online chats before introducing sexual chat.

He commented on her appearance and spoke of what he would like to do to her describing their chats as “sex lessons”. He asked for a photograph of her in school uniform before sending her a picture of his penis.

Mr Outterside said Jennifer was actually a woman involved in an organisation called Simply Decoy, which worked to trace predators seeking out children on the internet.

Police were contacted and when officers arrested Corlett in November 2019 they took his mobile phone to be checked out.

Examination of the phone revealed he had also been contacting someone he thought was a 12 year old girl named Alicia.

Alicia, who was in reality another decoy involved with a different group called Keeping Kids Safe and Well.

Mr Outterside said Corlett again made contact over Chat Hour before migrating over to WhatsApp.

In a similar way to how he chatted with Jennifer, Corlett began by gaining the trust of Alicia before starting sexual conversations.

Corlett admitted two charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, and a further charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was given a 20 month jail sentence suspended for two years with 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and given a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.

Kevin Batch, in mitigation, said Corlett, who has been married for over 30 years, has no previous convictions.

He said Corlett is ashamed of his behaviour and has expressed remorse and regret.

He added that since being arrested Corlett has sought help from a counselling charity.