A CARLISLE man who made illegal online sexual advances with what he thought were two teenage children has been sentenced by a judge.
Justin Brian Bell, 49, engaged in sexualised chat and sent lewd images over social media to the pair despite being repeatedly told they were girls aged 13 and 14.
However, Bell was actually communicating with members of an “online child activist group”. And, having been caught in a sting earlier this year, he was confronted on the doorstep of his Morton home in Carlisle by the vigilantes, who streamed the encounter online.
Bell later admitted charges of intentionally attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, and intentionally attempting to communicate sexually with a child.
Bell, of Bannisdale Way, Carlisle was said to be “deeply ashamed and embarrassed” by what he’d done.
After cons during a probation service report, Judge James Adkin concluded Bell wouldn’t get the professional help he needed if handed a short immediate prison sentence. Instead a 186-day jail term was suspended for two years. Bell must complete a sex offender treatment course and rehabilitation. He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, and must sign the sex offenders’ register, both for five years.