A CHESHIRE man who messaged a 14-year-old boy on social media to perform a sex act has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Ronald John Parkinson, 69, had pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in a sex act, and had apologised for his action almost immediately after committing it.

He had also admitted possessing cannabis.

Appearing at Chester Crown Court on Friday, April 23, Parkinson, of Tattenhall Marina, Newton Lane, Newton-by-Tattenhall, was handed a 20-month suspended prison term.

Prosecuting, Paulinus Barnes said Parkinson knew of the 14-year-old boy - who cannot be identified - and the pair began messaging on social media.

At one point in the conversation, which happened in March 2019, Parkinson wrote: "Love you" to the boy, who replied: "Oh ok, love you, sound."

Parkinson asked of the pair, if they should meet: "Will you give me a hug?"

He then asked the 14-year-old if he could perform a sex act.

A moment passed and Parkinson added: "Sorry about that."

The boy replied: "No, wtf...what are you playing at".

Parkinson replied: "Take no notice of that, I should not have said that to you."

A relative of the boy was informed of the incident and the matter was reported to the police.

Parkinson had no convictions since 1985 and said, in police interview, he did not know why he did it.

Defending, Patrick Williamson said there had been a positive pre-sentence report.

Parkinson had a "traumatic history" which had previously been a success but then "all fell apart".

After the offence, he "immediately made an unreserved apology".

It had been two years since the offence and there was no evidence of any criminal activity in that time.

It was "an appalling mistake" and the defendant "badly regrets it," Mr Williamson added.

Honorary Recorder of Chester Judge Steven Everett, sentencing, said there was evidence of grooming behaviour in the messages which led to a "moment of madness" which was "disgusting and despicable."

Parkinson knew the victim was underage and, although there was no evidence of a long-term effect on the victim, the victim had reported the offence to a relative.

Parkinson was handed a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He must complete 35 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.