- Craig Evans, 24, had been jailed for 18 months for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
- Freed after judges hear the messages went out to all his contacts including members of his own family
Craig Evans must have thought things couldn’t get any worse after he accidentally sent a saucy text message intended for a lover to every contact in his phonebook.
How wrong he was!
The 24-year-old swimming coach ended up in prison for sex offences after the text also found its way to two young schoolgirls.
Evans had typed an intimate invitation to his girlfriend asking her if she would like to engage in sex with him ‘skin on skin’.
Excruciatingly, a slip of the fingers on his BlackBerry smartphone resulted in it going out via BlackBerry Messenger to all the numbers on his phone.
But as well as having to deal with the humiliation of his family reading the message, Evans’s mistake led to far more serious consequences.
Among the recipients of the text were two girls aged 13 and 14, which led to Evans, who teaches swimming in a leisure centre, being arrested and charged with causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court in July.
The story unfolded in court this week when his lawyers went to the Court of Appeal in London to have his conviction overturned.
They argued that Evans’s ‘misguided use of his BlackBerry’ made it ‘difficult to conclude that he was targeting anyone’.
In the message, Evans, of Birmingham, asked an unknown lover if they would have sex with him ‘skin on skin’ and whether they would prefer it to be ‘fast or slow’.
Granting the appeal, Lord Justice Elias said the circumstances were ‘unusual’ and agreed that Evans had been ‘evidently misguided’ in the use of his phone.
He added: ‘The facts of this case are rather unusual. Messages... were sent to every single contact in his phone, including members of his own family.’
He added: ‘The fact that they were repeated shows that he was evidently misguided in the use of his BlackBerry.
‘It is difficult to conclude that he was targeting anyone.
‘There were a number of mitigating factors in this case.’
The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Coulson and Mrs Justice Thirlwall, added that the sentence, which he also reduced to nine months, would be suspended ‘given the unusual circumstances’ and freed Evans.