Tony James

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Serendipity in Location, Tasmania
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Pretender jailed for girl sex

ZARA DAWTREY   |   February 09, 2012 12.01am

A 52-YEAR-OLD Bellerive man has been jailed for a year for having sex with a 16-year-old girl while pretending to be someone else.

In the Supreme Court in Hobart last week, Tony James pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, indecent assault and three counts of having sex with a young person and was yesterday sentenced by Justice Shan Tennent.

James had developed a mobile phone-based relationship with the 16-year-old high school student in mid-June last year after she sent him a text believing him to be a 20-year-old called Andrew Free.

The court was told the pair exchanged numerous text messages and James sent her photos of a much younger man, claiming it was him.

He later told her he had a daughter and was undergoing cancer treatment.

“About a month after communication between the two of you began, the complainant received a telephone call from your wife asking why her husband, whom she named as you, was telephoning the complainant so often,” Justice Tennent said.

“The complainant obviously did not know who Tony James was and queried you about this.

“You initially denied knowing who Tony James was, but eventually told the complainant it was your birth name and that you were in fact 38 years old.”

In the June school holidays, James travelled to the East Coast to meet the complainant in person and told her cancer treatment had aged his appearance.

He again travelled to the East Coast the next week and this time asked the girl if she wanted to get a hotel room to which she said she did.

They had sex.

“After the events of that day, the complainant became distressed,” Justice Tennent said.

“She reported the matter to police on June 28 and ceased contact with you [but] you continued to send texts to her.

“While you continued these texts, the complainant began getting messages from someone called Matt who said he was a friend of ‘Andy’s’,” Justice Tennent said.

“He encouraged the complainant to patch things up with ‘Andy’.

“Telephone records showed Matt was you,” the judge told James.

She ordered he serve six months of his sentence before being eligible for parole.


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