Christopher Philips has been charged with five counts of child sexual offences which are alleged to have occurred between May and July of 2021.
The 47-year-old was charged after a member of Forbidden Scotland, an online predator hunting team, posed as a 13-year-old girl named Rihanna and reported him to police for alleged sexual communication.
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After his address in Green Oak Drive, Wheatley was searched by officers, it was discovered Philips had reportedly been engaged in ‘an enormous number’ of conversations with underage people – including a nine-year-old girl.
He was charged with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of possession of an indecent photograph of a 13-year-old girl.
Philips has denied all charges, telling police he believed the people he was conversing with to be adults.
Opening the trial at Oxford Crown Court on Monday (January 29), prosecutor Kim Preston told a jury: “Ladies and gentleman, your hearts may have sank when you heard the charges being read out to you on what the nature of this case is that you have to try and I’m sorry about that.”
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She explained that a profile had been set up by Forbidden Scotland of a fake 13-year-old girl called Rihanna whom Philips allegedly communicated with.
Ms Preston said: “Straight away she said she was 13 years of age. When she asked if it was alright that she was only 13, [Philips] said he didn’t mind.
“Fairly quickly, the conversation became quite sexual with the decoy profile. He said he wanted the two of them to get married…he said he was going to travel to Scotland during the school holidays and would have sex with her.”
Police visited his address and arrested Philips in August 2021 where a phone was seized and they also found a handwritten note with the name of a child pornography website.
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He was re-arrested in July 2022 when it was discovered he had allegedly been messaging a real nine-year-old, who was located by police.
Ms Preston said: “He encouraged her to send indecent photographs of herself. He had no recollection of playing truth or dare with her. He said he was not guilty of any of the matters.”
The trial continues.