A PAEDOPHILE caught with indecent images of children asked a 13-year-old girl if she liked older men, a court heard.

Simon Matthew Virgo sent sexual messages to a ‘teenage girl’ called Mollie.

The 37-year-old contacted her using an online messaging app called Kik.

Prosecution barrister, Emily Lanham, said: “The “messages back and forward included references to implied sexual acts and whether or not she liked older men.”

Daily Echo: Simon Virgo covers his face outside Southampton Crown Court.Simon Virgo covers his face outside Southampton Crown Court.

However, Virgo, of Walker Gardens, Hedge End, was actually speaking to police officers.

Following a raid on his home, officers seized two mobile phones and two Ipads.

They found indecent images of children believed to be between the ages of six and eleven being abused.

Appearing before Southampton Crown Court, he was charged with two counts of making indecent photographs of a child and a single count of being an adult attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

At an earlier court hearing, he pleaded guilty to the offences which happened between June and December in 2019.

Defending, Jamie Gammon, said his client had been of good character with no previous convictions.

Daily Echo: The 37-year-old had in fact been speaking to police officers. The 37-year-old had in fact been speaking to police officers.

He argued for the judge to suspend any custodial sentence, adding that if he were jailed “he will be released and effectively face a future without support".

Mr Gammon, said: “My submission is that he can be helped and wants that help.”

Judge Christopher Parker QC warned that if Mollie had actually been a child “the situation might be quite different”.

He also mentioned “positive references from a number of people”.

Judge Parker jailed him for six months, suspended for 12 months.

Virgo must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 40 rehabilitation days.

He was ordered to pay £340 in costs.

Furthermore, he must register as a sex offender for seven years and will be the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.