A pervert who cross-dressed in girls underwear downloaded images of his friend’s daughter from Facebook and sent them to a paedophile chat room where he and another made ‘highly sexualised’ comments about her.

Steven Partridge, of Delamere Road, Earley, was spared jail in what a Crown Court judge described as an ‘unusual case’ despite his actions being described as ‘despicable’, ‘terrible’ and ‘perturbing’.

A court heard how the 41-year-old sent the images of his friend’s daughter and another young girl to a paedophile in a chat room after developing a fetish for women’s underwear.

In a police interview following his arrest, Partridge claimed he was not attracted to young girls but he was attracted to their underwear and that he would cross-dress in this clothing.

The Earley man, who posed online as ‘Jake Parsons’ when sending the images, was forced to listen as the mother of the girl he posted images of laid into him at his sentencing.

The mother said he asked her to go on dates several times but she refused, and claimed she now realised he was ‘trying to get to my daughter’.

She said: “Since I had the phone call [about what Partridge had done] I felt horrified and sickened to my stomach that somebody I was friends with would use these images in such a sickening way.

“It has made me question everybody on my [Facebook] friends list.

“I’m now extremely cautious about what my daughter’s wear. I’m paranoid all the time. I no longer post pictures on my social media.

“I feel like I can no longer share my children’s achievements with my friends and family.”

Partridge downloaded the images of his friend’s daughter after becoming friends on Facebook.

He then sent them to another paedophile who was being tracked by Derbyshire Constabulary.

It was this force that would later inform local police of Partridge’s actions and the 41-year-old’s devices were seized when officers confronted him at his home following investigations.

The mother said she felt her daughter had been “completely violated.”

She added: “The fact he has been stealing pictures of my beautiful daughter is absolutely disgusting and breaks my heart.

“I can’t get it out of my head that he thought it was acceptable to post these images knowing these comments would be made.

“He has affected mine and my children’s live massively. He has left me feeling over-cautious for their safety.

“This will not go away and he should be held fully responsible.”

Partridge’s actions constituted a “breach of trust”, prosecutor Stefan Weidmann alleged.

Defending, Michael Phillips said Partridge was gripped by a cocaine and cannabis addiction when he set about sending the images to the other paedophile in December 2020.

The barrister explained that Partridge was a cross-dresser who liked dressing in female children’s underwear, and that he was not attracted to young girls but to what they were wearing.

Mr Phillips said: “He believes that matters go back 30 years to a fetish he developed in relation to women’s underwear.

“He was invited to a friend’s house [when he was younger] and they would play a game where they would guess the colour of people’s underwear.”

The defence reminded the judge that Partridge only sent the images to one other person rather than ‘thousands’ on an open forum, and that they were “not illegal images.

A court heard how Partridge had also cut his drug use and that he was getting therapy.

Sentencing, Judge Dugdale said the offences were “extremely unusual” and this was “the first time” he had to sentence someone for them.

The judge said Partridge and the paedophile had a “highly sexualised conversation about what you would like to do” to the daughter of his friend.

He continued: “You used these photos for your sexual pleasure.

“[The mother] is right when she says she feels her daughter has been completely violated because she has been completely violated.

“What you did was absolutely terrible. It was utterly horrible. It is a parent’s worst nightmare in the digital age.

“You don’t expect your friends to share your images online for their sexual gratification.”

Judge Dugdale said it had been “difficult” to decide on an appropriate sentence for Partridge as there were “no guidelines” and “no authority” on this particular issue.

He likened the offences -- which concerned the publications of ‘obscene’ messages online -- to the possession of the least explicit indecent images.

The judge said: “You are of previous good character and you have clearly expressed remorse.

“I accept you have sought help for your problems and have started receiving treatment.”

Partridge received a six-month suspended sentence for six counts of publication of an obscene article after Judge Dugdale suggested the 41-year-old’s time would be better spent getting rehabilitation rather than in prison.

He was also given a suspended sentence order for five counts of possession of indecent images.

Partridge will undergo a two-year rehabilitation programme and will be named on the sex offenders register for seven years.

After being let go from the dock, Partridge was confronted by the mother of the daughter he had posted images of online.

She yelled: “She’s just a child, Stephen!” as he was escorted to a private room.

Partridge was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, September 9.