A MAN who engaged in sexual chat with a person he believed to be a young girl has been spared jail.

Stuart Evans, of The Ridgeway in Marchwiel, appeared at Mold Crown Court on Monday morning for sentence.

The 28-year-old had admitted two offences at a previous hearing, namely; attempting to cause or incite a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to engage in sexual communication with that same girl.

Paulinus Barnes, prosecuting, told the court that the offences arose in November 2021, when Evans reached out to what appeared to be a young girl on a messaging app.

He told her he was 26 years old and from North Wales - and from the start, the girl told him she was 13.

Evans carried on the chats, asking if she was single and whether she liked older men.

His chat became increasingly sexual, asking her for images, making suggestions about acts he'd like to commit with her and suggesting she commit sex acts herself.

Unbeknown to Evans however, the 'girl' was actually an undercover law enforcement officer working to find offenders with a sexual interest in children online.

The defendant was traced and spoken to by police on December 17, making no comment in his first interview but then full admissions in his second.

He had no previous convictions.

Following an indication from Judge Niclas Parry that he intended to go along with the suggestion of probation officers, defending barrister Jemma Gordon made limited representations to the court.

She asked Judge Parry to step back from immediate custody, telling the court her client was "willing to comply" with any order the court made.

Ms Gordon confirmed her client was on Universal Credit.

Judge Parry told Evans: "The reality is if you'd have done what you were taking about - a young child would have been affected, dreadfully.

"There was a significant disparity in age between you and you knew it.

The Leader:

"But mercifully, there was no victim. You didn't know it, but there wasn't.

"You pleaded guilty immediately and co-operated with the police and have acted entirely out of character."

Judge Parry said there had also been an "unconscionable delay" in bringing the defendant before the court, with the matters hanging over him since December 2021, which has put his "life on hold."

Evans received an 18 month custodial sentence on each of the two offences, to run concurrently.


But they were suspended for two years.

The defendant must undertake 120 hours of unpaid work and up to 45 sessions on an accredited programme and rehabilitation activity.

Judge Parry concluded the non-custodial sentence with rehabilitation would protect the public and children from Evans far better than a comparatively short time behind bars.

The defendant was made subject to notification requirements and a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.