Ashfield man snared by paedophile hunters group posing as teenage boys aged 16 and 17

An Ashfield paedophile has been spared prison after he was arrested for sexualised chats with two people he thought were teenage boys, a court has heard.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 6:05 pm

Steven Upchurch was jailed for 15 months in 2010 for child porn offences and inciting young people into sex, and was put on a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years – banning him from using computers with internet access, Nottingham Crown Court was told on Tuesday.

But in 2019 his home was raided by officers and a computer was found to contain more than 1,000 child porn images, along with sexualised conversations with two ‘teenagers’ who the 46-year-old had believed to be two males, aged 16 and 17, the court was told.

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Steven Upchurch appeared before Nottingham Crown Court

In fact, they were adults, posing as young people as part of a paedophile hunting network, said Sarah Phelan, prosecuting.

Upchurch, who was also placed on the sexual offenders’ register at the time of his first conviction, had admitted three counts of breaching the order when he appeared before magistrates in April this year.

Miss Phelan said: “They discovered sexualised chats between the defendant and others who he believed to be under the age of 18.”

She added that Upchurch, of Westdale Road, Jacksdale, had not faced fresh charges because ‘those chats had been extremely provocative by those adults pretending to be 16 and 17’.

Mitigating, Matthew Smith said: “He hasn’t been able to properly challenge his behaviour - there has been no intensive work carried out on his triggers. He has an interest in young men of a certain age and he was relatively isolated at the time of these offences.”

Recorder William Harbage QC gave Upchurch a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and also ordered him to complete a 90-day sexual offenders’ treatment programme and 20 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.

He must also be on a electronically-monitored curfew to remain at his home address between the hours of 7pm and 5am for the next three months.

The Recorder also asked for an application for a fresh sexual harm prevention order to be applied for as a matter of urgency, as the previous one expired last year.

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