Norwich schoolboy admits sending indecent images of girl, 14

A schoolboy from Norwich has admitted sending an explicit photograph of a local 14-year-old girl to other teenagers.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with making and distributing an indecent image of a child, as well as possessing another five of other children.

He pleaded guilty to all counts at Norwich Youth Court yesterday, as he stood next to his mother in front of magistrates.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said that the 16-year-old boy had been sent the image of the girl by a schoolmate, who had taken it while on a video chat with the victim, having convinced her to pose for him online.

'As with many people their age they communicate with mobile phones and, more importantly, computers,' said Mr Haswell.

The boy in court yesterday had cropped the photograph, leading to a charge of creating an indecent image, but also sent it on to others. The court heard that the image had then spread to many young children in the city and caused the victim considerable distress and embarrassment.

Mr Haswell said sending the image was 'clearly designed to be vindictive' and that it had been 'degrading and humiliating'.

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Once she realised the image had been made public, she called her father, who alerted the police.

'It also attracted a great number of responses and abuse from people who had seen it,' said Mr Haswell, adding that it had a 'devastating' effect on the girl and her reputation. When police looked at the boy's computer, they found five other images of young girls which he had taken himself.

The court heard that the girl had been forced to leave her school over the matter, although the defendant disputed this claim.

Gavin Cowe, mitigating, said that there was 'no gross exploitation' involved in obtaining any of the images and that the defendant's age was close to the victim's.

He also said that the boy was remorseful about his actions.

'It certainly made him realise and appreciate firstly the ripple effect of his actions and secondly the need to think through the consequences of actions,' he said.

Magistrate Pat Plummer said: 'There's been some serious ramifications...from your lack of thought. Aggravating this is that you knew the distribution would be offensive and degrading to the victim.'

She gave him a 12-month referral order which will see him sign a contract in order to reduce the chance of future offending.

He was also ordered to pay �85 in costs, although the order was made in the name of his mother.