York & North Yorkshire

Ex-Coronation Street director guilty of teen sex chat

Tim Dowd Image copyright PA
Image caption Tim Dowd was freelance TV director who worked on a number of well known soap operas and dramas

A former Coronation Street director has been convicted of attempting to incite a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

Tim Dowd, 66, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, had intimate online chats with a police officer who was posing as a teenage girl in January 2018.

He denied four child sex offences but was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court.

Dowd, who also worked on Emmerdale and Heartbeat during his 30-year career, is due to be sentenced on 21 March.

A jury heard how the ex-freelance TV director, of Chatsworth Grove, Harrogate, asked the undercover officer questions about "phone sex" and requested she send naked pictures of herself over a four-day period between 12 and 15 January.

During the three-day trial, the court heard he met the policewoman, who adopted the username Chantelle13Cymru, on a chat site before contacting her on WhatsApp, when he made further sexualised requests.

Giving evidence anonymously, the officer said she was able to pose as a 13-year-old girl despite having to input an age above 16 to register on the site.

Image copyright Stanley Walker/Geograph
Image caption Dowd is due to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on 21 March

Dowd told jurors he believed the person he was talking to was an adult pretending to be underage as part of a sexual fantasy, despite frequently seeking clarification on her age.

The court heard he lost his job shortly after being arrested in Leeds.

Following his conviction on Thursday, the NSPCC said Dowd's actions reflected "a sick desire for sexual contact with children".

He was convicted of three counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to engage in sexual conversations with a child for the purpose of sexual gratification.

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