“Sinister in the extreme” – the “lonely” grandfather who thought he was chatting online with a 13 year old girl
A “lonely” grandfather caught chatting online with a “child” has been jailed.
A judge said it was “sinister in the extreme” that Graham Blackley, 62, was texting someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.
He had in fact sent messages to an undercover police officer.
A court was told on the basis of the “harmless enough” posts, which were not of a sexual nature, that Blackley likely would not have ended up in court.
But months earlier, he had received a suspended sentence for offenses of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
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Now Blackley, from Heywood, Rochdale, has been jailed after a judge says he missed the chance he was given.
Minshull Street Crown Court has learned that Blackley received a suspended sentence in October of last year.
He was also ordered to complete unpaid work and the Horizon sex offender program, prosecutor Hayley Bennett said.
Blackley has not had the chance to start this program because the coronavirus pandemic has intervened.
Prosecutors said Blackley had been in “daily contact” with the “girl” between June 9 and June 18 earlier this summer.
The messages were described as “fairly harmless” and were not of a sexual nature.
His lawyer said they represented a “general chatter cat”, where Blackley spoke about his daily life.
Police visited his home the following month.
Blackley denied having had a cell phone, but officers discovered he had a Motorola device that he had not disclosed to police.
When he received the conditional sentence, a Sexual Injury Prevention Order was issued prohibiting him from having such a device without the knowledge of the police.
He was also prohibited from contacting a child under the age of 16 under the order.
Blackley later admitted two counts of violating the order, as well as violating his conditional sentence.
Now he has been jailed for 20 months.
During her conviction, Judge Bernadette Baxter told her: “Unfortunately, even at 62 years old, you could not tell about the chance that was offered to you by the court.
“Why a 62-year-old man communicates with someone this age, when you have your own adult daughters and grandchildren, is extremely sinister.
“You have to understand that today is the end of the road, because you were given a chance and you didn’t take it.”
In defense, Betsy Hindle said Blackley, of Starkey Street, Heywood, had shown signs of “progress” and had done unpaid work, but said he still had “a long way to go”.
She said Blackley, who lives alone, became “even more isolated” during the lockdown and engaged in online chat to “cure boredom” and because he was “alone”.
He has now lost his job for 25 years, the court said.
“He feels he has let himself down greatly,” Ms. Hindle said.