‘You’re only 14’: Instructor’s sick post
A 65-year-old former driving instructor who sent explicit sexual messages to a cop he thought was a teenage girl before arranging to meet up for sex will spend at least nine months in prison.
Tony Keith Whale was sentenced to two-and-a-half years jail, with a release date on a good behaviour bond in nine months if he behaves in prison, by District Court Judge Ross Letherbarrow on Thursday.
Whale, wearing a brown leather jacket and glasses, kept his eyes closed in the dock as his exchanges with the officer, who was posing as a 14-year-old called "Paige" on a sugar daddy website, were read aloud in court.
The explicit messages included descriptions of sexual acts he wanted to perform on her, instructions on how she should masturbate, and plans to meet up while her mum was at work.
"Hi. I should tell you that I'm only 14," the officer wrote when first connecting with Whale online in June 2018. He replied telling "Paige" that she was cute.
Messages went back and forth for the next three weeks.
"Well you're only 14," Whale wrote on one occasion, "but I absolutely love that you are."
"A daddy wants to have fun with you so much … teach you all about sex," another message said.
Whale talked about meeting up during the school holidays, writing "if your mum is at work one day maybe we can go to your place".
Whale was arrested in July 2018 when he drove to Westmead to meet "Paige" and was instead met by police.
He was charged with one count of using a carriage service to engage someone he thought was under 16 to procure them for sexual activity. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Whale pleaded not guilty and argued at trial the messages were just "fantasy talk", but this was firmly rejected by Judge Letherbarrow.
"I'm satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that none of the chat was 'fantasy talk'," the judge said on Thursday.
Whale had no criminal history, nor any history of psychological or psychiatric issues, the court heard. Since his arrest he has separated from his wife of 25 years and had limited contact with his two children.
At the time he was arrested he had been working as a driving instructor for four or five years and, prior to that, had worked a variety of jobs including as a radio presenter, in public relations, owning a restaurant and undertaking university study as a mature age student.
Judge Letherbarrow said Whale was unlikely to reoffend and his offending was just below the mid-range of seriousness.
Whale, who has been on bail since August 2018, answered "yes" when Judge Letherbarrow asked if he understood that he would be released on March 18, 2021 if he behaved in prison.
The rest of the hearing he was silent but occasionally mouthed unintelligible words as he listened to the judge.
Whale was handcuffed and had his temperature checked by court officers clutching a coronavirus questionnaire as he was taken in custody.
Originally published as 'You're only 14': Instructor's sick post