Paedophile who tried to groom 12-year-old girl avoids jail because of coronavirus lockdown delays

The convicted pedophile Paul Appleton was sentenced to a suspended sentence due to a delay caused by the blocking of COVID-19 since his conviction in early March. (SWNS)
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A convicted pedophile who was found guilty of attempting to care for a 12-year-old girl avoided the prison due to a delay in his case caused by the blocking of the coronavirus.
47-year-old Paul Appleton had expected a judge to serve a sentence after he was found guilty of inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.
Warwick Crown Court heard Appleton from Rugby, Warwickshire send explicit pictures of herself and asked the girl to undress and play with herself after speaking to her online - without knowing that his goal was indeed a covert one Was a policeman.
On Wednesday, however, he was spared a Warwick Crown Court prison because court proceedings were delayed due to the UK blockade on March 23 - and the virus's impact on prisons.
Paul Appleton was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation. (SWNS)
Instead, Appleton was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation.
He had to register as a sex offender for 10 years, had to curfew between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. for a month and had to pay £ 800.
During the conviction, Judge Anthony Potter said, "This was a fairly sustained attempt to engage in sexual activity with someone you thought was 12 years old.
The video continues in the 1930s
"These were in no way a few isolated texts. Your communication was persistent. I told you that imprisonment is almost inevitable.
"But the circumstances that have occurred since March 12 and the delay caused me to conclude that in this particular case I can withdraw from immediate detention."
The court heard that Appleton had accessed a sex chat site over 18 while his wife was on vacation on October 3, 2019.
Under the name PaulUK47, Appleton started a conversation with someone named Maya18.
But when he was tracked down and arrested, he said he believed he was communicating with an adult woman, and evidence that she was 12 years old was only part of an RPG fantasy she initiated.
A jury rejected his "ridiculous defense" and sentenced him after a trial in early March.
UK courts are over half a million criminal cases behind the pandemic. (PA)
The news comes when official estimates released on Friday show that the courts face more than half a million criminal cases as a result of the pandemic.
The number of cases waiting to be heard by the judges rose 22% between the week of March 8 and May 17 to around 484,000, according to preliminary data from the Department of Justice.
During this period, pending court cases rose 4% to approximately 41,000.
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