Man thought police officer was girl, 13

Peter Ellison
Peter Ellison

A Wigan man who was caught sending a “teenage girl” sexually explicit messages in a targeted police sting, has walked free from jail.

Peter Ellison, 45, of Well Court, has been set free from prison where he was on remand for two counts of inciting a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

The court heard how the Standish resident made contact with a police officer, who he thought was a 13-year-old girl, before asking her to engage in both “non-penetrative” and “penetrative” acts via the website.

The police sting, dubbed “Operation Atari”, saw the implementation of a fake website “entirely set up with a view to taking down those with an inclination to involve themselves in illicit sexual offences.”

Judge Stead, who sentenced the would-be paedophile at Bolton Crown Court yesterday, said: “It went on for a period of weeks, something like two months.

“There were repeated communications between you and what was supposed to be a 13-year-old child.

“You made many repeated disgusting sexual observations and requests culminating on January 10 requesting that the supposed child carry out a serious sex act.

“This is a serious matter and also a worrying matter.”

Defence barrister Malcom Pizzey told the court that Ellison, who pleaded guilty to both charges, was full of “guilt and regret” at what he had done.

“It is clear that the defendant is struggling to cope,” he told Judge Stead. “He is very sorry for this and understands he has made terrible mistakes.

“He is a man of low self-esteem and finds himself isolated and finds himself in certain difficulties.

“The consequences have been devastating.”

Mr Pizzey added that there were “factors” in his life at the time of the communication including alcohol.

On sentencing, Judge Stead referenced an earlier incident in 2007 where Ellison was cautioned for gross indecency with a child, but it was not reported why charges were not brought at the time.

Judge Stead, who later imposed a three-year community order - which includes 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as an “indefinite”

Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will include a ban from all devices incapable of storing internet history and restrictions on contact with children under the age of 16, told Ellison that he would take into account the month he has already served in prison.

“You are someone who has a number of personal difficulties,” he said.

“You have spent a month in custody, imprisoned for the first time.

“I have no doubt at all that will have been a harsh experience indeed, notably over the Christmas vacation.”