A SOLDIER has escaped a jail term after admitting sending a Wigan schoolgirl an obscene video of himself, a court heard.
Air trooper David Clarke had made initially contact with the 12-year-old via her Facebook page on which she described herself as a married woman of 22.
In conversations she admitted she was younger but said she was 14 and despite this Clarke engaged in sexually explicit chats.
Clarke, then a 19-year-old aviation ground crewman with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, sent her a video of him performing a lewd act and asked her to send him a video of herself.
They spoke about meeting up for sex, although the court was told neither actually intended to meet. He also asked her if she wanted more indecent photographs of him.
His inappropriate behaviour came to light on August 7 last year when her horrified mother found the Facebook and text messages on her phone and computer at their Wigan home, said Mr Pepper.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the police were notified and when interviewed the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied having viewed the video but she said in text messages and on Facebook that she had, he added.
Clarke, now 20, of Mobberley Road, Breightmet, Bolton, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a child to watch a video of a sexual act on August 4 last year and inciting a child to engage in a sexual act the following day.
Sentencing Clarke to 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said that although the girl had responded positively to his suggestions he had to some extent corrupted her.
“Sometimes courts have to protect victims from older predators and others because of their own immaturity.”
He ordered Clarke, who was wearing his regimental tie, to carry out 180 hours unpaid work, placed him under supervision for 12 months and ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
The judge also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order restricting his internet use and banning unsupervised contact with children for the same length of time.
David Woods, defending, said that Clarke, who is based at Dishforth, Thirsk in Yorkshire, was to have been deployed to Afghanistan but he is to be discharged from the Army next week because of the offences.
He described him as immature and said his behaviour was “like that of an adolescent. Because of this relatively short period of stupidity he will suffer substantially. He had to face his family and friends with the fact he had behaved in this way and he feels ashamed.
“He has lost his employment in the Army and whatever he does in the future he will be restricted because of these convictions. His behaviour was immature and foolish but not something more sinister,” he said