September 2018

Ex-police officer sentenced for child sexual offences

A perverted pensioner who turned up to meet what he believed was a 14 year old girl for sex has avoided a prison sentence

Neil Francis Owen, 73 of Greatmead, Yeovil, appeared at Taunton Crown Court charged with:

  • One count of an adult attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child aged between 13-15

  • Attempting to cause or incite a girl 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity

  • Meeting a child following sexual grooming

The court was told that Owen was apprehended by South West based paedophile hunting team UK database while attempting to meet an underage girl following sexual grooming in the Massingham Park area of Taunton on Easter Monday this year (April 2)

Owen arranged the meet the 14-year-old decoy in Taunton following highly sexually explicit chat. He groomed and ‘coached’ the girl on sexual activity.

Owen sent 14 images of himself naked, which included close ups of his manhood.

However, the girl did not exist and was instead an adult called Becca Simone from the UK database who posed as a child online to catch sexual predators

The team arrived at the meeting place, and greeted Owen as he parked his Land Rover. They questioned Owen on his online activity.

Owen was arrested and charged with the offences within 15 hours of the ‘live sting’

Owen was described as an obnoxious and arrogant sexual predator, who denied he knew talking sexually and sending images to children was illegal even though he was a former police officer.

A trial was set for December after Owen pleaded guilty to two of the three charges.

However, the case was brought forward without the knowledge of either the team or the decoy, and he was sentenced for just one of the three charges with the other two allowed to ‘remain on file’

Owen avoided a prison and was instead handed a 12 month community order

He was placed on the sex offender register for five years and told that he must adhere to a sexual harm prevention order for five years 

A disclosure and barring scheme was imposed and he was told to pay court costs of £665

A UK database spokesman said that the team were disgusted with the court for not notifying them of the change or update, but wished to thank Avon & Somerset police for their outstanding work on helping bring a dangerous and perverted sex offender to justice.

The sentence clearly does not reflect the seriousness of the offences and behaviour exhibited by Owen