Antonius Van Hesteren – Beith
31 Monday Aug 2015
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Beith sex offender jailed after undercover sting
A sobbing sex offender who sent an undercover officer lewd online messages has been locked up.
Antonius Van Hesteren believed he was sending the messages to a child under the age of 16 unaware that the officer monitoring him was posing as an under-age child.
The depraved 70-year-old, who has previous convictions for possessing indecent images of children, admitted committing the offence on various occasions between April 9-11 this year in Beith s Muirpark Terrace.
Van Hesteren made arrangements to meet the person he was travelling with the intent to engage during or after the meeting in sexual activity.
He appeared from custody at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week and pled guilty.
Van Hesteren had been remanded since April in relation to the offence.
Not long after taking his seat in the dock, Van Hesteren began to cry and continued to weep throughout proceedings.
His lawyer, Mr Hughes, told the court that the police became aware of Van Hesteren thanks to a member of the public contacting them.
This was after viewing an advert placed by Van Hesteren on the Craigslist website, which can be viewed by any member of the public.
A surveillance programme was set up where an officer posed as a child to monitor Van Hesteren.
Conversations took place and the Dutch national was eventually snared.
Mr Hughes revealed that Van Hesteren was living in a private let in Beith and has lived in Scotland for a number of years.
He said Van Hesteren s life has been limited due to his physical infirmity and placed the advert with no real expectation of getting a response.
Mr Hughes said Van Hesteren was astonished when he received a reply.
He told presiding Sheriff Shirley Foran that Van Hesteren was previously married with three children but has no contact with them.
According to Mr Hughes, this caused Van Hesteren emotional distress .
Van Hesteren s social work report revealed concern that Van Hesteren found himself in a similar position after having once carried out a community-based disposal for an analogous conviction.
Mr Hughes insisted it was important to point out that at no point did Van Hesteren disguise himself on the internet.
Before his sentencing, Van Hesteren had never spent a period in custody.
Sheriff Foran dismissed Mr Hughes suggestion for another community-based sentence and believes Van Hesteren poses a serious risk to young females.
She said: You initiated a search to get a response from young and almost underage females.
Having obtained a response, these communications rapidly increased in lewdness and I have no doubt you were fully prepared to go through with meeting the person.
I consider you to be a serious risk to young females with whom you have an unhealthy interest in.
Van Hesteren was sentenced to 23 months in prison backdated to April 13 due to the nature and gravity of the offence along with Van Hesteren s previous convictions.
He was also placed on the Sex Offender s Register for 10 years.