Hanley man who sent explicit texts to a schoolgirl spared jail


A 20-year-old man who sent explicit text messages and death threats to a schoolgirl after befriending her on Facebook has been spared a jail sentence.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Luke Potter, formerly of Perry Close, Hanley, sent a friend request to the 13-year-old in 2012 and began speaking to her shortly after she turned 14.

He told her he was called Damien Johnson and the conversations started off as “ordinary chit chat” but things began to escalate, the court heard.

In March 2012, the girl put her mobile number on Facebook and Potter began sending her messages.

Nick Tatlow, prosecuting, said the texts soon became sexual and on March 19, 2012, he asked to meet up with her and said he would take her to the woods and have sex with her.

When she refused, he said he would send someone round to kill her.

The schoolgirl showed the texts to her stepfather and mother who attempted to scare Potter away by replying to his texts telling him to leave the girl alone, said Mr Tatlow.

But the court heard this encouraged him to send more abusive texts.

Mr Tatlow said on May 22, 2012, Potter sent a series of threatening and sexually explicit texts, using another false name.

The girl’s mother reported Potter to the police and he was arrested on October, 11, 2012 for attempting to meet a girl under 16 following sexual grooming.

He initially pleaded not guilty and said he thought she was 18 and denied sending some of the messages, but later pleaded guilty to the charge.

Catherine O’Reilly, defending, said Potter had plans to live with his two brothers who are both on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

In response, Judge David Fletcher said: “I am very perturbed about the suggestion that he goes and lives with his brothers in Tunstall.

“It is a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.”

He added that Potter must not live with his brothers but may live at his own address.

Judge Fletcher sentenced Potter to a three-year community order and made him subject to a three-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which bans him from having a relationship or communicating with girls under the 16 unless their mother knows of him and his charges.

He must also only use devices which can track his internet history.




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