A “sneaky” pedophile has avoided prison after repeatedly harassing an undercover agent to take illegal pictures.

Sean Keeler, of Folkestone, told the chat room decoy account owner to take a secret photo of herself so that she “won’t have any problems” with her mother.

Sean Keeler, of Folkestone, leaving Canterbury Crown Court

The 31-year-old predator also gave the officer, whom he believed to be a 12-year-old girl, instructions on how to take illicit photos.

“Shameful” Keeler was given a suspended sentence in Canterbury Crown Court after pleading guilty in a previous hearing.

Prosecutor Caroline Knight said: “The accused contacted what he believed to be a 12-year-old girl named Ella. In fact, he was an online rep.

Keeler’s desperate attempts to persuade “the child” to secretly send compromising and illegal footage have been read in court.

Although she said she was only 12, he calls her “baby”, tries to tell her that she won’t be in trouble and encourages her to go to the bathroom to take pictures, in the shower or in the bath.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Keeler was arrested at his home and pleaded guilty to inciting a child to communications and sexual activity, with the chat logs taking place over five days between September and October 2020.

Judge Simon James told Keeler he was “devious with a sexual interest in children.”

Mitigating, John Barker read testimony from Keeler’s parents, who supported him in court, describing his “conduct as out of character.”

“He’s always been a working man, he worked for a retail outlet for five years, he works evenings, I think he’s a valued employee,” said Mr Barker.

“This incident was an aberration, it was an isolated incident which caused shame to himself and his family and a lot of soul-searching.”

“The accused contacted what he believed to be a 12 year old girl named Ella. In fact, he was an online representative … “

Keeler, of Hill Road, Folkestone, who was previously of good character, was sentenced to 26 months in prison suspended for two years.

It will be subject to 10-year notification requirements and a 10-year Sexual Injury Prevention Order.

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