GROOMING: A Warwick man admitted to sending sexual messages over Facebook to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
GROOMING: A Warwick man admitted to sending sexual messages over Facebook to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl. MaxPixel's contributors

Undercover cop busts Warwick man grooming child

A CHILD groomer who sent sexual videos to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl and asked for photos from her in return has pleaded guilty in court after it turned out the explicit material was instead being sent to a police officer.

Joshua John Cornwell yesterday pleaded guilty at Warwick District Court to two counts each of grooming a child under 16 and using electronic communication to procure a child under 16.

He spent last night in the Warwick watch-house as he awaits sentencing for the child abuse crimes this morning.

Crown prosecutor Chontelle Farnsworth told the court Cornwell, 26, used Facebook to send videos of himself as well as sexual messages to the girl in April last year.

The court was told one of the messages read, "How big do you reckon my c--- is baby? Do you think you could take it all?"

Ms Farnsworth said the Warwick man's behaviour was "predatory in nature" as he initiated contact with the teen "in an attempt to corrupt what he thought was a 14-year-old girl".

"It's exceptionally serious offending that warrants a serious sentence," Ms Farnsworth said.

"Community protection is relevant here."

The court was told Cornwell initially denied to police what he'd done but later admitted to recording the videos of himself.

Defence lawyer David Jones said Cornwell was "deeply embarrassed" by his crimes but could not give a reason for why he sent the messages.

"He said he accepted it but couldn't offer an explanation for why he did it," Mr Jones said.

Giving some background on Cornwell, Mr Jones said the now 26-year-old had a difficult upbringing and was involved in a motorbike crash just before he turned 18.

He'd also had difficulties with illicit substances in his life, MrJones said.

Cornwell had spent 179 days in pre-sentence custody for the offence, but Ms Farnsworth said the time could not be officially declared as time served as Cornwell was in custody for a number of offences.

She said up to two years' jail was appropriate in the circumstances, but it could be reduced to 18 months if the judge considered the time he'd spent in custody.

The defence offered cases for Judge Nathan Jarro to consider, suggesting an option could involve sentencing Cornwell to 12months of imprisonment and releasing him after six months - taking into account the time he'd spent in custody before sentencing.

Judge Jarro opted to take time to consider the facts and cases presented to him.

He scheduled the final sentence to be delivered at Warwick District Court at 9am today.