A paedophile dad who was arrested in the Aldi where he worked ran from the court after a judge spared him jail.
Liam Ridgeway, who used the nickname 'HungforYoung' online, engaged in a sexualised chat with a schoolgirl he believed was 13, named Becca – but it was in fact a decoy set up by an undercover police officer.
The 27-year-old, of Hawthorne Road, Bootle, sent the 'girl' naked photos supposedly of himself.
The dad even asked 'Becca' whether she would have sex with a man in her mum's bed.
Ridgeway started talking to 'Becca' on an online chat forum called Chatiw on October 8, 2019, writes the Liverpool Echo.
Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, told the court: "He very quickly moved to asking sexually explicit questions of Becca and of course the undercover officer made it clear at an early stage that he was supposedly talking with a 13-year-old who was still at school."
Mr Stephenson said Ridgeway sent the 'girl' two photos of a man showing his penis and claimed it was him when it was not.
He went on to ask her about her sexual experience and the size of her breasts and bottom before the chat moved onto Skype.
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He also asked whether she would have sex with a man in her mother's bed, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Police identified his IP address and raided his then home in Dryden Street, Bootle.
Ridgeway was arrested at Aldi where he worked and interviewed that day, where he declined legal representation and accepted he was involved in the chat.
Mr Stephenson said: "He explained he was at a difficult stage in his personal relationship with his partner, he was looking to make contact with a younger person, but not someone who was underage."
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Ridgeway, who had no previous convictions, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child aged 13 to look at an image of sexual activity, and intentionally encouraging the commission of an offence.
Defending, Jason Smith told the court there wasn't a persistent attempt at grooming and the conversation took place over a day.
Mr Smith said: "The response he gave to police on his arrest is perhaps the most clear remorse one can hear, 'I plead guilty, it was me'."
The lawyer added that at the time of the offence, Ridgeway had recently lost his father and was suffering from the collapse of his relationship.
Judge Potter handed Ridgeway a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered that he must complete a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme.
He also said the dad must attend 20 days of a Rehabilitation activity REquirement and carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Ridgeway must sign the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevent Order for 10 years.
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