A mum-of-two sent child abuse images to her zombie-actor boyfriend in a warped bid to ‘keep their relationship alive’, a court heard.
Rachael Larkman, 38, obtained the indecent photos and shared them with 35-year-old Steven Kearsley after he became ‘obsessed’ with the idea of chatting to an underage girl online.
In one graphic exchange, Kearsley, who has played zombies in direct-to-video films, messaged Larkman saying: ‘You got any pervy pics? You can send any – even nudes I wouldn’t run.’ She then replied: ‘I’ll try and get a couple tomorrow n take some of me in a bit for u xxxxx.’
When she asked. ‘Lol having fun?’, he responded: ‘Child abuse is always fun x.’
The pair, both from Oldham, Greater Manchester, were arrested in June 2018 after police became aware of the explicit photos and messages.
Larkman admitted distributing indecent images of children at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, where she was given a suspended prison sentence.
Kearsley was jailed for a year after being convicted of engaging in sexual communications with a child and encouraging the sharing of indecent images.
The court heard they began seeing each other in 2013 after meeting on the dating app Flirtomatic.
Robert Smith, prosecuting, said: ‘They began what is referred to as a “friends with benefits”-style relationship based on casual sex.
‘He asked Rachael Larkman for topless photos of herself, which she did, but then asked her whether she was interested in pornography.
‘Rachael explained that initially she did not want to comply with the defendant’s request for indecent images of children, but the defendant told her that if she did not get them, he would.’
The prosecutor told the court Larkman admitted sending ‘eight to 10’ photos to Kearsley after his requests became ‘constant’.
Searches of his mobile phone following his arrest revealed Kearsley, who has appeared as an extra in Emmerdale and in a BBC TV drama about society call girl Christine Keeler, had been pestering a 12-year-old girl for nude photos on Snapchat.
Further inquiries led them to Larkman, who told police during an interview in October 2019 that he had become ‘quite obsessed’ with speaking to a young girl and wanted to know if she had a boyfriend.
The court heard she sent the indecent photos ‘to sustain her own sexual relationship with Kearsley’.
Defending Larkman, Richard Simons told the court: ‘Her background is complex and difficult, and she is considered to be vulnerable, particularly in the context of relationships.
‘A psychological report suggests she suffers from battered woman syndrome and PTSD, and further notes that the contribution of these psychological diagnoses made her vulnerable at the time of these offences.
‘It’s noted, of course, she has a history of some learning disabilities, and she is considered to be on the autistic spectrum.
‘She is deeply remorseful, and that alone was apparent through the comments in all the documents submitted to the court.’
For Kearsley, Vanessa Thomson said: ‘Mr Kearsley has a long-term disability, his broken back but has been self-employed, devising games and being a supporting artist in the acting industry.
‘His employment in the acting sphere may be reduced now in the future but he does have his gaming design business which is now taking off.’
The judge, Recorder Anna Vigars QC, told Larkman: ‘You are considered to be a vulnerable woman, and particularly in the context of relationships and it’s clear since your arrest that you have sought to address the issues that you found.
‘I accept that you have some learning difficulties – although I have read the text messages between you and Steven Kearsley, which point to you being an intelligent and able communicator.
‘You also sent a number of photos to sustain your own sexual relationship with Steven Kearsley.’
She added: ‘You did not have to give evidence, but you did and whilst no doubt you did that to promote your own position, it is the case that it took considerable courage on your part, and it indicated your remorse.
‘Your offending was simply to keep your own sexual relationship with Steven Kearsley alive. You have demonstrated very significant remorse.’
The judge told Kearsley: ‘I have no doubt had it not been for you, there would be no offences of this nature. The requests made by you were in the context of a perverted sexual relationship.
‘It was born from your own sexual desires. You show no remorse or acceptance on your part of your guilt.’
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