Man caught by paedophile hunter given suspended prison sentence

ipswich crown court

Daniel Holland, 27, from Stowmarket appeared in Ipswich Crown Court on Friday. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A mentally ill Suffolk man who was snared by an online paedophile hunter posing as a schoolgirl has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel Holland was reported to the police after he made online contact with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl called Megan, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Friday. 

A few days after the contact started Holland had asked the girl to touch herself sexually and had sent her a naked video of himself.

Holland was arrested after being reported to the police and was interviewed about his contact with “Megan”.

Despite being arrested and questioned by police Holland had gone on to re-offend in a similar way several weeks later.

The court heard that on that occasion a woman who knew Holland through friends and was aware of his arrest had posed as a 13-year-old and had been contacted by the defendant on Snapchat.

During their contact, Holland had asked the person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to send him naked pictures of herself and he had sent her a naked picture of himself.

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The contact was reported to the police and he was rearrested on December 22 last year.

Holland of Park Road, Combs, near Stowmarket, admitted two offences of attempting to cause or incite a child aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity. 

The first offence was committed between October 24 and November 2 last year and the second was committed on December 5 last year.

Holland was given a 24 month prison sentence suspended for 24 months and ordered to attend a treatment programme for up to 43 days. He was also given a rehabilitation activity requirement for up to 45 days.

Judge David Pugh also ordered Holland to sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made him the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.

Sentencing Holland Judge Pugh said he had found the sentencing exercise difficult and had decided to take an exceptional course by not sending Holland to prison after hearing about his mental health problems.

Isobel Ascherson for Holland, who has no previous convictions, said her client had been sectioned under the mental health act on seven occasions.

She said he lived in supported accommodation and had now stopped drinking and had reduced his drug use.