Man who exchanged nearly 8,000 WhatsApp messages with teenage girl is handed community order

Martyn Hart was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Martyn Hart was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A Woodbridge man who ”groomed, manipulated and controlled” a schoolgirl and exchanged intimate pictures with her has been given a community order.

Marcus Smy and the teenager exchanged 7,900 WhatsApp messages and 2,600 other messages during a six-week period between May and June 2016, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Stephen Rose, prosecuting, said Smy had also asked the girl to send him intimate pictures of herself and he had sent similar pictures to her.

Smy, 23, of Orchard Close, admitted two offences of inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity and two of causing the girl to engage in sexual activity.

He was given a three-year community order and an 80-day rehabilitation requirement.

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Judge Rupert Overbury said Smy had served the equivalent of a 14 month prison sentence and the community order would give the public the maximum protection. He said Smy had “groomed, manipulated and controlled” the girl.

Smy was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, both for five years.

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Richard Kelly, for Smy, said his client had made good progress in prison.

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