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A minibus driver who texted a young girl telling her he wanted to “kidnap her” avoids jail.

A judge gave Ian Phillips, 58, a six-month suspended prison sentence for his messages to the child, where he frequently called her “sexy.”

Phillips met the girl when he used to drive her to school in a minibus and he later began messaging her over Facebook. In such messages, he asked the young girl if he could tie her up.

The unnamed victim, who has learning difficulties, told her carers about it. Police seized the defendant’s mobile and computer. Then, the police found the Bracknell driver to be in possession of over 50 indecent images of children and animals. Officers arrested Phillips in May 2019. However, his trial was postponed until recently.

However, the defendant argued that he was writing it as a joke. Although the jury understands the seriousness of the offence, they argued that he has shown “huge remorse.”

Despite a lack of actual jail time, Judge Burgess sentenced Phillips to attend a rehabilitation course to prevent him from re-offending. He also received a sexual harm prevention order for seven years as well as a restraining order from the girl.

By Derry Salter

Cardiff University Journalism and Communications student. Intern for MMN.

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