A man who sent what he thought was a schoolgirl pictures of himself wearing ladies underwear faces a jail sentence.

Michael Hall, 53, also sent 13-year-old ‘Elisha’ explicit messages, peppering her with demands for semi-naked pictures of herself and giving her instructions about using sex toys.

As well as the knicker snap, Hall – who claimed online to be in his 30s – sent the ‘girl’ pictures of himself without clothes as well as an image showing him using a sex toy on himself.

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‘Elisha’ was not, in fact, a 13-year-old girl from Newcastle. She was a grown woman working with so-called paedophile group the Geordie Chasers.

The group confronted Hall outside Reading Railway Station in spring 2018. He went to meet the ‘girl’ after she told him she had travelled all the way from the north east by train.

During a week-long trial, jurors at Oxford Crown Court heard Hall and ‘Elisha’ met on social media websites Lovoo and Kik Messenger before their conversation moved on to WhatsApp.

The court was told that ‘Elisha’ repeatedly stated she was 13. He quickly moved the conversation onto sexualised topics, asking first for pictures of her in her school uniform then, later, in her underwear or swimsuit.

Hall claimed to police who interviewed him after he was arrested at Reading Railway Station. He claimed that he believed the ‘girl’ was over-18. Asked why he had sent sexual images to the account, he said he wanted to see what reaction he would get.

Opening the case to the jury last week, prosecutor Matthew Walsh said: “The issue in this case, really, is this: are you sure he believed he was dealing with somebody under the age of 16. Are you sure he was dealing with someone, communicating with someone under the age of 16?”

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Jurors took more than a day to return unanimous guilty verdicts to seven charges, including attempted sexual communication with a child, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and attempting to meet a child after sexual activity.

Remanding Hall, formerly of Manche, Normandy, into custody, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: “Michael Hall you have been convicted by this jury unanimously of serious sexual offending against someone who you believed to be a child and in due course I will pass a sentence which will properly reflect your criminality.”

Hall will be sentenced on Thursday, May 26.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward