Man jailed for a year after being convicted of first ‘cyber-flashing’ offence in the UK

Crime / Wed 20th Mar 2024 at 07:00am

A MAN has been jailed for 66 weeks, after being convicted of the first ‘cyber-flashing’ offence in the UK.

Nicholas Hawkes, 39 from Basildon appeared at Basildon Crown court on Tuesday 19 March where he was sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress or humiliation.

Hawke’s conviction was the first in the UK for this offence, which was introduced in 2023 under the Online Safety Act. The investigation was managed by Essex Police’s MOSOVO team, who proactively manage sexual offenders and violent offenders in Essex.

The investigation into Hawkes was launched on Friday, 9 February after Essex Police received a report that a woman and a teenage girl had been sent explicit images over Whatsapp.

Hawkes was arrested and charged with two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm or distress.

He pleaded guilty to all offences and was sentenced to 66 weeks in prison.

He must comply with a 10-year restraining order and will be subject to a 15-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Detective Chief Inspector James Gray said:  “This result proves that we are able to thoroughly investigate all sexual offences, including those which have only recently been criminalised.

“Hawkes has proven himself to be a dangerous individual and our Crime and Public Protection Team have put hours of work into ensuring he is taken off the streets.

“Perpetrators may think that by offending online, they are less likely to be caught, however that is not the case. ‘Cyber-flashing’ has a detrimental impact on victims, and we will continue to investigate all reports of this offence.

“My main message here is to the perpetrators, people who think it’s acceptable to send these unsolicited photos without permission. It’s not and I ask those who think it is acceptable to reflect on their behaviour.”

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4 Comments for Man jailed for a year after being convicted of first ‘cyber-flashing’ offence in the UK:

2024-03-20 14:26:11

whats this to do with harlow we have our own bad news

Eye roll to sexism
2024-03-20 23:15:39

For Lez: It’s relevant because it’s Essex and not isolated, plus there’s plenty of females and girls ( speaking as a woman & as a teen back when.) it’s a regular occurrence. So many dirty people out there. You don’t expect to scroll through messages to be presented a picture of genitalia's, just like you don’t expect nor appreciate walking your dog and being presented with genitalia.

Eyes roll at sexism
2024-03-20 23:18:16

Also, this is a national issue. Global even. Cybersecurity is not a thing. Children aren’t safe and neither are woman.

Dean Wilson
2024-04-11 17:14:34

Eyes, you're a fool if you think only women and children are targeted... also, cybersecurity is not an issue - bad parental judgement is. People should be monitoring their kids online activities. Absolutely.

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