City Watch


A trickster masqueraded as a professional photographer when offering two 15-year-old girls £40,000 contracts to pose for pornographic pictures.

Matthew Smith (33) sought to persuade would-be victims with a bogus Facebook account portraying himself as a successful lensman. He also approached teenage girls in a Leicester branch of McDonald's and asked them to pose in his "studio" – which did not exist – after showing them pornographic images. Smith used other people's professional shots with his own logo on them, and even forged a photographic qualification certificate, credentials and business cards. Leicester Crown Court was told Smith also knocked on people's doors asking for money in the guise of seeking donations for Macmillan Cancer Support, using official looking sponsor forms. While door-knocking, he encountered a 17-year-old girl and repeated the charade of being a glamour photographer, inviting her to pose for him, said James Varley, prosecuting. Smith, of Tudor Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to three counts of inciting child pornography with girls under 18, and two counts of fraudulently seeking charity sponsorship. He was jailed for three years.

Sentencing Smith, Judge Philip Head said: "On August 29 last year, you equipped yourself with your laptop and went out looking for young teenage girls in McDonald's, a likely place to spot them. You waited until two 15-year-olds were by themselves and, claiming to be a professional photographer, showed them pictures of adult women, some in provocative poses, including one bending over showing her private parts. It was to put in their minds the possibility of similar sexual posing and you suggested lucrative modelling contracts if they posed in your studio – which didn't exist. You gave them business cards and your Facebook profile was carefully constructed and invented by you. Most of the Facebook contacts you were making were of young women and included requests for them to model nude. I recognise this was incitement and not the completed offences. As you are today, you represent a real danger to teenage girls."

Mr Varley said when Smith approached the two 15-year-olds in McDonald's, he offered them £40,000 modelling contracts with free lingerie for them to pose in, especially as one of his contracts was with the Ann Summers company. When he went charity door knocking "for Macmillan", wearing an official-looking lanyard, he obtained just £3, but it was a ploy to meet young women, it was claimed.

Sian Cutter, mitigating, said: "No physical contact was made. Although it was insulting, no harm was caused to the women other than upset when it was discovered what his motives were. He's ashamed and embarrassed."

Smith will be on a sex offender register for life and he was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order, enabling the authorities to monitor his future computer use and banning unsupervised contact with females under 18.

Details from Leicester Mercury









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