AN Ellesmere Port teenager who messaged a 13-year-old girl with a video of him performing a solo sex act has received a suspended sentence.

Daniel McNally, 18, previously pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates Court to three offences, namely causing a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch sexual activity and engaging in sexual communication with a child.

The offending had taken place when McNally was 17 and 18 years old, with messages being sent via a social media app. During that time, the victim was aged 12-13 years old.

Honorary Recorder of Chester Judge Steven Everett, sentencing McNally at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, April 27, warned about the dangers of young people sending inappropriate messages in the heat of the moment, and the long-term consequences it has on the victim and the perpetrator.

Prosecuting, Paulinus Barnes said the pair had initially been messaging each other in a friendly way, but then, in the words of the victim, "he started to get a bit weird".

McNally told her he "loved her" and "wanted to be with her", and later sent indecent images of himself to her.

The victim blocked him on the app, but he later apologised and she allowed them to reconnect.

However, McNally subsequently sent a message asking if the girl wished to see an indecent image, to which she replied "not really". He then sent an indecent video of himself performing a sex act.

In a victim personal statement, the girl said whenever she thought of the incidents, she felt sick to her stomach, struggled to focus at school, and was now nervous with strangers who were older than her.

Her mother said she had noticed a change in her daughter's mental health as a result.

McNally was interviewed and admitted all the offences, saying the online conversation "just progressed", and could not remember how many indecent images he had sent.

Judge Everett said: "This highlights the dangers of social media. Social media is a method of communication which, when used properly, it's very good.

"But when young, immature people do things like this, they have effects on the victim and also the perpetrator. Once it's out there, it cannot be undone.

"It's the actions we see so often, sadly, by young people who don't think of the consequences."

McNally had no previous convictions, Mr Barnes added.

Defending, Brian Treadwell said the defendant was being supported by his family, who had done everything right by taking him to the police station so he could promptly admit everything he had done.

McNally was now in self-supported accommodation and had been complying with the sex offender requirements at the police station following his guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity.

It had also been some time since the offending took place.

Judge Everett said: "It's impossible to underline the seriousness of these matters.

"She was 12-13 years old; young people should have the opportunity to grow up and not deal with this sort of behaviour. One can only hope the girl can put this behind her and move on with her life.

"The pre-sentence report says you were shameful and embarrassed about what you did. You went into the police station and admitted these offences fully.

"It might come as a shock to you and your family...that the starting point for this type of offence is two years in prison."

McNally received credit for his guilty plea, remorse, lack of maturity and previous good character, as well as steps taken to address his behaviour.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and must sign the sex offenders register for the next 10 years.

He was handed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which prevents him from owning a device capable of accessing the internet without it being made available to the police, and no unsupervised deliberate contact with girls under the age of 16 without relevant permission.

A restraining order preventing McNally from contacting the victim was imposed for three years.