Durham casino boss caught trying to groom 13-year-old girl has sentence cut

Keith Fagan thought he was chatting with teenager online when in fact it was a police officer

Keith Fagan
Keith Fagan

A casino boss caught trying to groom a 13-year-old girl for sex in a police sting has had his jail sentence slashed.
Keith Michael Fagan thought he was chatting to a schoolgirl online when he exchanged sexually charged messages.
But the 57-year-old was in fact in conversation with a police officers posing as a teenager.
When police seized Fagan’s computer they found he had engaged in similar explicit exchanges with other internet users he thought were children.
Fagan of Devonshire Road, in Belmont, Durham, was jailed for three years at Durham Crown Court in June, after pleading guilty to six counts of attempting to incite a child into sexual activity,
But last week his lawyers argued the sentence was ‘excessive’ in front of senior judges London’s Court of Appeal, and Fagan’s jail term was cut to two years.
The prisoner, who watched the appeal via a video link, thanked the judges after they gave their ruling.
The court heard Fagan had told the officer, who he thought was a child, that he wanted to introduce her to “the joys of sex”.
He clearly thought she was underage because he told her in one message that his actions would be “frowned upon”, said Mr Justice Openshaw.
During one of the exchanges, he sent a video clip, showing him performing a sex act.
As they appealed against the sentence, Fagan’s lawyers argued that he was acting out a fantasy online and did not intend on carrying out the acts he discussed.
It was also said that there was no evidence that any harm had been caused to any child as it could not be proved that any of those he contacted were actually youngsters.
Giving judgment, the judge, sitting with Judge Jeremy Carey, said: “Offences of cyber-sex are capable of having a serious and damaging effect on children.
“We take into account the appellant’s good character and his remorse. We fully understand the disastrous consequence of his conviction.
“He has lost his good character and his job and probably imperilled his future employment prospects as well.
“We also understand the effect of his imprisonment on his disabled wife, who was reliant on him.
“It seems to us that to have internet conversations with people he hoped and intended were children, and to attempt to incite them to engage in sexual intercourse, is something which needs to be strongly discouraged.
“Having said all that, we are persuaded that, although the custody threshold is plainly passed, we think that this sentence is excessive and to some extent.”

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