Leamington actor who tried to persuade young girls into sex acts was caught out after his ex-girlfriend played the online role of a 12-year-old

But he was spared a jail sentence, partly because he was charged with less serious offences

Friday, 5th March 2021, 11:12 am
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 11:14 am

A Leamington actor who posed as a teenager as he tried to persuade girls into sex acts was caught after his ex-girlfriend played the online role of a 12-year-old.

But Adam Simmons has escaped being jailed following a decision to charge him with less serious offences than a judge at Warwick Crown Court believes he should have faced.

Simmons (27) of Valley Road, Lillington, pleaded guilty to five charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and distributing an indecent image of a child.

Adam Simmons.

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity and an offending programme, and to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Prosecutor John O’Higgins said Simmons's girlfriend began to think he was acting strangely and was hiding his phone.

When she found the phone and looked at it she discovered sexual communications with a 12-year-old girl.

As a result she ended the relationship and told him she had reported the matter to the police, which she did in January 2018, although no action was taken at that time.

But in October that year she noticed a new name had appeared on her Snapchat account, and decided to check whether it was Simmons, so created one herself using the name Anya.

The profile gave Anya’s age as 12, ‘but that did not seem to bother him,’ said Mr O’Higgins.

Simmons gave his name as Adam, claiming to be 17, and the chat soon became sexual.

She again reported it to the police, and the information was passed to Warwickshire police who arrested Simmons and seized his laptop and phone.

When he was questioned he said his girlfriend found out about his sexual chat with other females, but claimed he was attracted to females aged 16-22 and had ended the chat when he found they were younger.

But when the contents of his chat was put to him, he confessed he had lied about his age and that he had a sexually inappropriate attraction to younger girls.

On his laptop the police later discovered ‘voluminous’ sexually-explicit chats he had had with other girls.

And one of the explicit chats had taken place after he was told by his ex-girlfriend that she had gone to the police.

Mr O’Higgins said the police had tried to contact the girls, but none had replied, so it could not be proved they were definitely under the age of 16.

But Judge Sylvia de Bertodano asked: “Why was it not charged as attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity? It makes a huge difference to sentencing.

“This appears to be inciting these children to engage in sexual activity. Whether or not they existed is irrelevant for this purpose.

“It seems there has been a massively generous charging decision,” she commented, pointing out the maximum sentence for the charges Simmons had admitted was two years – compared to 14 years for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

“You are putting me in a position where my hands are clearly tied. I cannot pass a sentence which would be merited in this very worrying case. I don’t think this has been charged at the right level,” the judge added.

Julia Needham, defending, said: “There has been a very, very substantial delay in bringing these proceedings. There was a two-year delay between his arrest and appearing in court.”

She said Simmons, who was previously of ‘positive good character,’ had demonstrated genuine remorse and had been engaging with the Lucy Faithful Foundation to address his offending.

Sentencing Simmons, Judge de Bertodano told him: “These are matters that are very serious indeed. You know the view I take of that.

“You are very fortunate, first that you have not been charged with the more serious offences, and second that there is no evidence whether these were real children.

“The prosecution cannot prove that they are, but that is what you thought when you were contacting them.

“You have put yourself in huge danger of going to prison, but I am not going to send you to prison today.”