Paedophile musician Joshua Manton to be freed after top judges slashed his sentence
Former Northumbria University student Manton bombarded girls as young as 12 with sexually explicit messages
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A paedophile musician who bombarded children with sexually explicit messages is set to be freed from prison after top judges slashed his sentence.
Joshua Manton, a former Northumbria University student, used social media to prey on youngsters around the country, with one of his victims aged just 12.
The 19-year-old knew the girls were underage but still encouraged them to exchange indecent images and tried to meet up with one.
His crimes only came to light when the mum of one of his victims spotted the incriminating photographs on their phone.
In August last year, a judge at Northampton Crown Court locked Manton up for two years and four months but on Tuesday his sentence was cut to one year and eight months by judges sitting at London’s Court of Appeal.
The court heard he is likely to be freed immediately because of the time he has already served behind bars.
Manton is originally from Burnley but had been studying psychology and criminology in Newcastle.
He was a guitarist for Cult Lust, who described themselves as a “scuzz-rock mosh pit punk” band.
But as soon as his crimes were discovered, former bandmates rushed to distance themselves from him.
Mr Justice Wilkie told the court Manton exchanged about 180,000 messages with a number of girls, most of whom were over the age of consent.
But the judge said the age of those he chatted to seemed to have been a “matter of chance”.
When confronted by police about the messages to underage girls, Manton said he had “got carried away”.
The court heard he asked one 12-year-old girl to perform a sex act for him to watch over the internet.
He also tried to get her to send him naked pictures of herself, but she did not comply with his requests.
During online discussions with other girls, aged 13 and 14, he again asked for indecent images.
He engaged in explicit conversations with them and made one victim watch as he pleasured himself.
He also tried to persuade a 13-year-old girl to meet up with him.
The offences all took place between October 2014 and January 2015.
Manton admitted inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, three counts of inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, one of causing or inciting a child to watch a sexual act and one of arranging to meet a child following grooming.
Urging judges to reduce his sentence, his lawyers said it was too tough and didn’t take enough account of his admissions of guilt or his personal mitigation.
Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting with Lady Justice Sharp and Judge Martin Picton, ruled the total sentence was “manifestly excessive”.
He said: “In our judgment, a proper total sentence for these offences would have been one of 20 months’ custody.”