Mark Wesley Liggins, member of paedophile ring, sentenced to 27 months in prison for offences

Mark Wesley Liggins, member of paedophile ring, sentenced to 27 months in prison for offences

MARK Wesley Liggins, a Mandurah member of the Perth paedophile ring, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison last Friday.

From March 2013 to April 2015, Liggins used the internet chat platform Kik to engage in conversation with other users.

Liggins was aged 44 to 46 during the time of the offending and believed he was communicating with a 12-year-old girl on one occasion.

On another occasion, he thought he was communicating with girls aged 13 to 15 years old.

He engaged with sexualised conversations with the children relating to oral sex and sexual activity.

During sentencing, Judge Mark Edward Herron said the conversations Liggins had with the girls clearly showed he was “seeking young girls to sexually offend against”.

Liggins asked for photographs of the girls either naked or semi-naked.

In turn, he received photos of this nature, of girls, consistent with the ages he believed them to be.

On occasion, Liggins offered to show the children images of his penis and sent them images of his exposed erect penis.

Liggins did not engage in the activity continuously and it occurred intermittently from March 2013, until April 2015.

Judge Herron said Liggins must have been aware of the young age of the children.

“Your offending only eased after police learned of your offending,” he said.

“There were five victims; that is five young girls against whom you offended.

“I accept that there was no attempt by you to meet the girls outside of the internet.”

The court heard that Liggins used cannabis, methamphetamine and abused alcohol.

A clinical psychologist described Liggins as “detached” and said he viewed himself as worthless, inadequate and unsuccessful.

He told the psychologist he went to the chat sites because he was lonely.

Liggins claimed he did not believe the children were the stated ages and assumed they were adults pretending to be younger.

He denied being sexually attracted to children.

The psychologist did not accept this explanation and concluded it was likely that Liggins was sexually attracted to children.

She said he was of a low to moderate risk of reoffending upon his release.

Liggins will undergo counselling and be assessed for a sex offender program.

Judge Herron gave Liggins a reduction in his sentence because he co-operated with the police investigation into the leader of Perth’s paedophile ring, the father of a 13-year-old girl who was sold for sex.

Liggins’ sentencing was originally put off so he could care for his 16-year-old daughter who has spinal cancer.

Judge Herron sentenced him to 27 months in prison in relation to five counts of procuring an underage person to engage in sexual activity and four counts of exposing a person believed to be under the age of 13 or 16 years to indecent matter.

He was also sentenced for being in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

Liggins will be eligible for parole in July 2017.