Man cleared over teenage sex charges

Oxford Crown Court

Oxford Crown Court

First published in News

A 25-YEAR-OLD has been cleared of inciting a teenage girl to engage in sexual activity after they met playing Xbox games online.

Martyn Johnson, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, was yesterday found not guilty of the offence by a jury after a four-day trial.

He was unanimously acquitted of the offence, which allegedly happened between January 1 and March 24 last year when the complainant, from Oxfordshire, was 15.

Before his trial started Johnson pleaded guilty to three counts of showing indecent images of a child.

Opening the case in Oxford Crown Court, prosecutor Iain Wicks said the defendant had an online relationship with the complainant at the end of 2012, but they never met.

He said the teenager sent Johnson nude photos of herself, which he uploaded to his Blackberry Messenger profile page when he thought she was seeing someone else.

Addressing the jury in his closing speech Tony McGeorge, defending, said his client had believed the girl was 16 at the time.

He said: “His case is that he believed she was 16 for a very good reason, and that reason is she told him she was 16.”

He added: “He’s certainly not material from which geniuses are sculpted. What the girl said to him, coupled with her appearance and behaviour, led him to believe she was 16.”

Judge Mary Jane Mowat said she agreed Johnson was immature and that the “bizarre” online relationship had been encouraged by the complainant.

But she told him posting pictures of the teenager on the internet was “nasty, upsetting and distressing for her”.

She fined him £500 and told him he would spend five years on the sex offenders’ register. He also has to pay a £50 victims’ surcharge.

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