Man, 56, caught in police sting communicating with '13 year-old girl'

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street

Philip Woodend appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A Hadleigh man who was caught in a police sting sending online messages of a sexual nature to a decoy '13-year-old girl' will be sentenced at the crown court. 

Philip Woodend, 56, was caught by police in an undercover operation where an officer adopted the profile of a 13-year-old girl named 'Billie', Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard. 

Woodend contacted the decoy girl via the Kik messaging application between January 20 and February 2 this year, Mark Milkovics, prosecuting, told the court. 

Woodend was fully aware that 'Billie' was 13 years old and confirmed to her that he was 56, Mr Milkovics told magistrates. 

The conversation developed and Woodend communicated with the decoy on nine days over a 14-day period.

Some of the online messages were considered to be of a sexual nature, the court heard. 

These included Woodend telling 'Billie' she can stroke his penis while he drives, Mr Milkovics said. 

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Mr Milkovics said: "The crown would say the general content is of a sexual nature and arguably in the terms of grooming, with the possibility of meeting. 

"At one stage, Mr Woodend talks about maybe cooking for 'Billie'. There's a conversation about the fact that they both lived in the Ipswich area." 

Woodend, of Emmerson Way, Hadleigh, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child on September 22 and pre-sentence report was ordered by magistrates. 

Magistrates were told that Woodend, who appeared for sentence on Thursday, had no previous convictions. 

Mr Milkovics told magistrates because of the nature of the conversation and the charge, the sentence might be better suited for the crown court. 

The bench agreed and committed the case to the crown court for sentence. A pre-sentence report has already been completed by the Probation Service, magistrates were told. 

The charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child carries a maximum jail sentence of up to two years.

Woodend, who must sign the sex offenders' register in the interim, was released on unconditional bail by magistrates. 

He will appear at Ipswich Crown Court to be sentenced on a date to be fixed. 

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