Online Dating
In this representational image, a man looks at a dating site on his computer in Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2014. Getty Images/ Eva Hambach

A man was convicted Saturday in England, of having a sexually explicit conversation with an 11-year-old girl, who was pretending to be a 41-year-old woman.

Terry Long, from Bristol, England, who was sentenced to 16 months in jail and ordered to sign his name in the sex offenders' register, told the Swansea Crown Court that he had no clue that he was talking to a minor when he struck up a conversation for less than an hour on an adult dating site, Daily Record reported.

The two exchanged several messages on the platform before the 11-year-old sent him two intimate photos of herself performing a sex act. Although the pictures clearly revealed that the victim was not an adult, Long continued to send sexual messages to her for the next nine minutes before the girl’s mother intervened and put an end to their contact.

Exchanges of texts happened between the accused and the victim first on the dating site and later on WhatsApp. Long made comments on the sexual act in a number of messages to the girl before her mother sent a message telling the defendant "in no uncertain terms" to stop messaging.

After the conversation ceased, Long deleted the minor’s intimate photos and well as contact information.

Long was charged with two counts of causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of making indecent images of a child, all of which he pleaded guilty to, but only on the basis of what he believed was chatting with a 41-year-old woman "at all material times" during the incident.

Long did not deny the fact that there was "passage of exchanges" on the instant messaging app after he received the pictures – something described by presiding Judge Paul Thomas QC as "disgusting chat". "I am told you are ashamed of yourself - you have every reason to be so," he added.

He also categorized the case as "unique of its kind,” which made sentencing difficult, as an 11-year-old had been online, pretending to be an older woman instead of a woman pretending to be a young girl to catch pedophiles.

The prosecution said that they had no other choice but to accept the basis presented by the defense as the family of the girl involved refused to take part in the hearing and hence, there was no way to determine the other side of the story or dispute the basis. The court was invited to sentence on that basis.

Virginia Cornwall, Long’s lawyer, further stressed on the fact that his client had gotten out of a long-term relationship and was browsing a legitimate adult dating website and had not been actively seeking contact with children.

The judge agreed that there were "obvious features that would cause cynicism in all but the most naive", and that the victim’s family refusing to co-operate with the prosecution left the court with no other choice but to accept what the defendant said.

In addition to prison time, Long was also ordered to complete the Horizon community sex offenders program and a rehabilitation course.