A TOOTHLESS sex offender was jailed today after his friends found dirty demanding messages to underage girls on his phone and tipped off police.

A judge heard that Andrew Scantlebury had been staying at O’Hanlon House homeless hostel in Oxford for several months when fellow resident Sarah Gibson asked to borrow his phone.

Miss Gibson was aware that Scantlebury was a sex offender and became suspicious of WhatsApp messages popping up from girls who looked very young in their profile pictures. She decided to investigate.

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The court was told that she found that the 28-year-old suspect had been posing as 17-year-old "Ben Brown" online sending out photos of a much younger man. In the messages he was seen to demand that a 13-year-old girl send him images of herself in her underwear and the words 'sexy thong'.

Judge Maria Lamb, sitting at Reading Crown Court, praised the bravery of the hostel residents who were 'prepared to help the public at large' in defying friendships and doing the right thing.


Prosecutor Edward Culver said: "In the messages the girl made it clear from the very start that she was 13 and he asserted that he was 17.

"She said ‘you are chatting up a 13-year-old, kinda illegal but okay lol'."

"The girl sent some pictures in her bra and underwear but he asked for more graphic photos of her bottom half," Mr Culver added.

The court heard that when toothless Scantlebury was arrested, he strenuously denied the offence at the police interview and spun a web of lies stating that he had found the phone a few days previously. He stated outright that it was not his.

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Scantlebury, of no fixed address after his mother 'booted him out' and obtained a restraining order against him, had five previous convictions including inciting a girl under the age of 16 years to engage in a sexual act.

In a similar story, a younger Scantlebury had pretended to be a 16-year-old boy and pressurised a 15-year-old girl on social media to send images. The court heard how Scantlebury threatened to find the girl and kill her if she did not co-operate.

Defence counsel Alexandra Bull said: "This sentencing is aggravated by Mr Scantlebury’s previous convictions.

"He has been drinking since the age of 15 years, he has been diagnosed with ADHD from a young age and he is homeless. Mr Scantlebury has been entirely honest and frank that he does not have the strength to overcome his dependency on drink. He cannot do it by himself.

"Homelessness is lonely and drink brings highs and lows which is when he wants to engage with others. He knows it is wrong but messaging gives him satisfaction immediately.


"But he has already been addressing his issues in custody by completing many courses and he has a job with DHL, packaging a few days a week."

The court heard that Scantlebury last appeared in court only a month ago, as he was found living under the same roof as a 13-year-old girl at a neighbour's house after his mother had kicked him out.

Judge Lamb told him: "Three years ago you engaged in sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl when you were aged 22 years.

"Recently, you were found living under the same roof as a 13-year-old despite orders which prevented you from doing so.

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"You were made subject to a community order which you did not comply with and attempted to contact a 13-year-old girl and persuade her to send you images during the currency of that community order.

"When you were arrested, you denied the offence and claimed the phone was not yours. This is undoubtedly aggravated by previous convictions and inability to conform with a committed order.

"Although this particular offence does not fall into a dangerous category, it does not mean that I do not think you pose a substantial risk to young girls.

"I sentence you to 12 months in prison and you will have a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for a period of 10 years."

Additionally, Judge Lamb ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the phone.