A MAN who believed he was communicating with two teenage girls online has been jailed for more than two-and-a-half years for sexual communication offences.
Daryl Connolly, 34, from Handley’s Close, Coventry, was unwittingly communicating with two decoys, one operated by police and another by a separate organisation.
He admitted two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and one count of attempting to incite a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.
He was sentenced to 32 months in prison and will be required to pay a victim’s surcharge of £181.
Connolly believed he was conversing online with two girls under the age of 16 between February and July of 2020.
During these conversations, which took place through messaging apps, Connolly made a number of sexually inappropriate comments and tried to ask for them to meet up with him.
Both girls were fakes, part of two separate investigations — one from the police and one from an independent organisation.
Decoy 1, from the independent organisation, was presented as being 14 years of age.
During the conversations, taking place between two messaging apps from January to July 2020, Connolly made a number of requests for inappropriate pictures from Decoy 1.
He also requested the decoy to perform sexual acts on themselves.
Decoy 2, the account operated by police, was presented as being 13 years old.
Between June and July 2020, Connolly messaged Decoy 2 over various apps, again requesting pictures and sending a series of sexually inappropriate messages.
He was initially arrested in July 2020 and an investigation launched into data pulled from his electronic devices.
He was later charged with two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and one count of attempting to incite a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.
“Over the course of what he believed were conversations with underage children, Connolly comes close to self-awareness at several points — he grapples with the idea that what he is doing is wrong, but then continues sending the explicit messages anyway,” said DC Gallagher of Warwickshire Police.
“A sentence of over two-and-a-half years in prison should give him all the time he needs to properly come to understand the full nature of his activities, and the children he could have caused harm to.
“Upon his release, we will be keeping a very close eye on him for the rest of his life.”
Connolly is also required to register indefinitely with police under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and has been given a sexual harm prevention order severely restricting his usage of electronic devices until December 2033.