AS many as 200 men could be brought before the courts as part of a major paedophile investigation centred on a Scottish teenager.
Ricky Goward-White, 25, yesterday became the first to be jailed for “sexting” the 13-year-old, who the judge said “could fill a prison on her own”.
Prosecutor Kate Davey told Chelmsford Crown Court of the police investigation into the activities between the girl from Fife and a string of men.
“Two hundred cases arise from it,” she said.
Goward-White, of Harlow, Essex, was jailed for four years for inciting the girl to take indecent photos of herself and send them to him.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub said Goward-White’s actions had been morally and personally degrading to the child, who cannot be identified.
“You corrupted her to some extent, although I appreciate she was a child who appeared to engage in communications with many other men as well as yourself; but you played your part in her corruption,” the judge said.
He added the girl would “grow up in the knowledge that pictures of her may surface on the internet at any time”.
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Goward-White pleaded guilty to two offences of inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity between June and July 2012 and to one offence of possessing indecent images of her on his wife’s mobile phone.
The court heard that he was not connected to any of the other cases.
Ms Davey said the girl’s mother realised in 2012 that one of her daughters was contacting people she didn’t know over the internet, usually through Facebook. The woman then contacted the police.
The police investigation led to Goward-White’s address and the phone he used was registered in his wife’s name, but he accepted he had contacted the girl and he was arrested in 2013.
Of 31 indecent images on the phone of girls aged 12-14, 27 were of the girl from Fife. Others had been downloaded from the internet.
Goward-White, who had pretended he was younger than he was while exchanging information with the girl, had exchanged a number of images with her, said the prosecutor.
The court heard this sometimes involved him going into his car to take pictures of himself in order for him to obtain more “privacy” than inside his home.
The number of messages between them, which included him asking for pictures, ran into three figures.
The court heard that he had urged her to take photos, saying: “If you love me you will do this”.
Mitigating, Clare Dowse said: “The girl was in contact with a large number of men. He was not linked to any of those men in any way. He is not part of any group.”
Goward-White’s name was added to the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and the judge made a sexual offences prevention order for seven years which limits and monitors his access to children and the internet.
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