A “devious” paedophile has avoided jail after repeatedly pestering an undercover officer to take illegal images.
Sean Keeler, of Folkestone, told the decoy chat room account holder to secretly photograph herself so she “won’t be in trouble” with her mother.
The 31-year-old predator also gave the officer, who he believed was a 12-year-old girl, instructions on how to take illicit pictures.
“Shamed” Keeler was handed a suspended sentence at Canterbury Crown Court after entering guilty pleas at a previous hearing.
Prosecutor Caroline Knight said: “The defendant contacted what he believed to be a 12-year-old girl called Ella. In fact, it was an online representative.”
Keeler’s desperate attempts to persuade the ‘child’ into secretly sending compromising and illegal pictures were read in court.
Despite her saying she's only 12, he refers to her as 'baby', tries telling her she will not be in trouble and encourages her to go to the toilet to take photos, in the shower or bath.
Keeler was arrested at his home and pleaded guilty to inciting a child into sexual communications and activity, with the chat logs occurring over five days between September and October 2020.
Judge Simon James told Keeler he was “devious with a sexual interest in children”.
Mitigating, John Barker read testimonials from Keeler’s parents, who supported him in court, describing his “conduct as being out of character”.
“He has always been a working man, he has worked for a retail outlet for five years, he works the evening shift, he is, I understand, a valued employee," said Mr Barker.
“This incident was an aberration, it was an isolated incident that brought shame on himself and his family and much soul searching.”
“The defendant contacted what he believed to be a 12-year-old girl called Ella. In fact, it was an online representative...”
Keeler, of Hill Road, Folkestone, who was of previous good character, was handed a 26-month sentence suspended for two years.
He will be subject to 10 years of notification requirements and a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.