Sex offender who thought he was messaging 14-year-old girls caught out in online sting for a second time

A registered sex offender who sent sexually explicit messages to what he believed to be young girls has been jailed.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 3:37 pm

Thomas Turney, of Langdale Close, Cambridge, messaged a “girl” who he believed to be 14 on social media in November last year.

However, the girl was in fact an adult and the messages were handed over to police.

He was convicted of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and handed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) in January.

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The order banned Turney (38) from using the internet to communicate or seek communication with any child under 18 who he had not met face-to-face.

However, just five months later in June, Turney contacted two more “girls” through an online dating site. He repeatedly asked one of them to send him naked photos of herself and messaged both girls over the course of two days.

The “girls” again turned out to be adults and the sexually explicit messages were handed to police.

Two days after the conversations were given to police officers arrested Turney at his house.

In interview he admitted the dating profile was his and said he had set it up to ‘find love’. He denied being sexually attracted to young girls and denied sending the messages.

However, he later pleaded guilty to four charges in total, including two charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and two charges of breaching a SOPO.

He admitted the offences at a previous hearing and was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Monday.

Turney was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison and handed a 12 month community order requiring him to complete a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

His existing SOPO remains in place and will run for 10 years.

DC Paul Evans, who investigated, said: “SOPOs are imposed for a reason and Turney showed a complete disregard of the prohibitions by breaching them on more than one occasion.

“He sent sexualised messages in the genuine belief that he was contacting two 14-year-old girls.

“Protecting the county’s children is one of our top priorities and we are working hard every day to keep young people safe and bring sex offenders to justice.”

Anyone who is concerned someone may have been convicted of a sex offence, and could be posing a risk to someone, can apply for disclosure information through Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law.