Builder caught trying to contact teen girl given suspended sentence

Ipswich Crown Court.

Scott Cross was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

An Essex builder who was arrested after he had a sexual conversation with an undercover officer posing as a schoolgirl has been given a suspended prison sentence.

During conversations with the officer, who was posing as a 13-year-old girl called ‘Alice’ on the Kik Messenger app, Scott Cross sent her an explicit picture and encouraged her to masturbate and to send him a picture of herself, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Cross, 35, of Talisman Walk, Tiptree, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause or incite a child to watch or commit a sexual act.

In addition to being given a two year prison sentence suspended two years, he was given a 35-day rehabilitation requirement and ordered to do 300 hours' unpaid work.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years and ordered to sign the sexual offenders’ register for the same period.

He was ordered to pay £750 costs.

The court heard that Cross had committed the offences in October last year after relapsing into cocaine and alcohol use.

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Stephen Page, for Cross, said his client was the father of a three-month-old baby and his partner was a nurse.

He said Cross was remorseful and was no longer drinking or using drugs and had sought help from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.