Pervert told ‘teenage girl’ he wanted to ‘take her top off’

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A pervert who had upskirt pictures of girls in the uniforms told a '13-year-old' he wanted to 'take her top off'.

Anthony Ellis spoke to what he thought were two underage girls on an online chatroom.

Among the messages the 60-year-old, from Huyton, said he wanted to treat one '13-year-old' like his 'daur', meaning daughter.

He also said that he would buy her a cider if she would kiss him and 'let him feel her legs'.

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Unbeknown to Ellis, he was actually speaking to undercover police officers.

Alaric Walmsley, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court today, explained that between December 18, 2019 and February 5, 2020, Ellis had been speaking with one profile under the name Freya on Chat Avenue.

Between February 3, 2019 and March 12 last year Ellis had also been speaking to what he was a 12-year-old girl called Jess.

Ellis had used the name M55INUK on website Chat Avenue, where he began speaking to 'Freya'.

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Mr Walmsley said: "Initially the defendant opened the conversation by introducing himself as Tony and said he was aged 59 from Liverpool."

After acknowledging the girl was much younger Ellis "asked her what she looked like and what she was wearing".

He then said: "I bet you have a nice body, would love to see it myself" adding "is it bad I want to take your top off?"

The pervert then wrote "I want to take you to the pub like you're my daur" which Mr Walmsley explained meant "daughter".

He also said he would buy her a "fruit cider" if she would kiss him and "let me feel your legs".

On February 3, 2019 began speaking with the second 'girl' names Jess and after sending similar messages to the second 'girl' he asked her to move platforms.

Ellis wrote "I might get caught on the others by the wife, got caught using Kik – wife was angry kicked me out".

Police tracked the IP address which led them to a computer at the University of Liverpool, where Ellis worked as a laboratory technician, and on April 15, 2020 they searched his home address and seized two laptops and an iPhone.

In interview Ellis said he "wanted help" and admitted the offences, handing over his work computer and providing the pin for his phone.

Mr Walmsley said after analysing the devices they found Ellis had accessed Chat Avenue on his work computer and had searched terms such as 'pre teen' and 'schoolgirl'.

Police also found 56 "upskirting" images, Mr Walmsley told the court, although the ages of the women couldn't be determined and officers were unable to find if the images had been taken with consent or not.

The images were in a folder called 'new' and those pictured were wearing school uniforms.

Mr Walmsley said no indecent images of children were found on the devices.

He asked her what she looked like, Mr Walmsley explained, and said "sorry I'm bad"

The court heard Ellis is of previous good character.

Bernice Campbell, defending, explained he is 60 years of age and pleaded guilty to the offences and made full admissions in interview.

Ms Campbell told the court that due his offending his marriage of 30 years had broken down and he now has difficult relationships with his two adult children, one of which refuses to speak to him entirely.

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The court heard he has also left his job at the University of Liverpool.

Ms Campbell said: "He tells me he is remorseful and embarrassed by his behaviour."

She added: "He despises what he has done."

Ms Campbell explained the probation service had recommended they would be able to work with Ellis.

Ellis, of Knowsley Lane, Huyton, admitted two counts of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child.

The Judge Andrew Menary, QC, sentencing, said is was clear from the evidence Ellis has had an "unhealthy sexual interest in young underage girls" for some years.

The judge said that by talking to what he thought were underage girls on Chat Avenue Ellis "satisfied some sort of sexual gratification" which he branded "quite disgraceful behaviour" adding that there was "undoubtedly early grooming behaviour".

Judge Menary said: "The conversation was designed to titillate you and encourage the development of some sort of online relationship."

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The judge said: "There is no evidence or indication you had a desire to meet up in person with either of the young girls, or people you believed to be young girls. It was you creating some imaginary corrupt online world within which you could explore and satisfy your desires."

Judge Menary said he accepted Ellis had "lost so much", including his marriage and good relationships with his children, as a result of his offending, and noted he is of previous good character.

Ellis was handed a 6 month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months.

He must complete 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.

Ellis was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.

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