A SEX offender who chatted to what he believed was a 14-year-old girl is due to be sentenced soon after the case hit stumbling blocks.

Matthew Sherwood was due to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on May 11 after a series of delays while his mental health is investigated.


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It is now close to four months since the 37-year-old of Mandalay Drive, Norton, Worcester, admitted attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and having indecent images of children.

However, he was not sentenced last Wednesday and the case is now in a warned list which means he will be sentenced imminently - in practical terms as soon as the court is able to do so. The court has confirmed he is to be sentenced on May 26.

We reported last month how Sherwood's advocate asked for a further adjournment because a medical report still had not been obtained on Sherwood's behalf.

The sentence hearing, originally listed in March, had already been delayed by six weeks while his defence team sought medical evidence to explore why he was trying to chat to underage girls online. Sherwood first admitted the offences back in January.

We have previously reported how Sherwood was screened at court by supporters who formed a 'human shield' so he could not be photographed.

In March, Sherwood was said he was signed off work with a raft of mental health issues including psychosis and schizophrenia.

At a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on January 27, Sherwood had pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.

He further admitted attempting to cause or incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity between January 31, 2020 and February 8, 2020.

Sherwood was before the court on March 2 when Judge Martin Jackson agreed ‘there should be some medical evidence from his mental health practitioner to perhaps consider the link between his mental health condition and these offences’.

Speaking in April about the case, Belinda Ariss, defending, said she had written to the enhanced primary care mental health service. “Unfortunately we have not yet received a response. That letter and that response has unfortunately not been chased,” she said.

The defendant was also told to sign the sex offender register at the last hearing which means he must notify police of any change of address for example.

'Attempts' mean the defendant was communicating with a 'decoy' using fake profiles, rather than an actual child. Sherwood further admitted making indecent photos of a child between April 12, 2020 and June 6, 2020. He had three category C images, the least serious category within the guidelines.

Judge James Burbidge QC warned Sherwood in April: “You must not put in your mind that you will necessarily avoid immediate custody. You must ready yourself for that. These are serious matters.”

The case was previously opened by David Jackson, prosecuting, who said Sherwood was caught by a group called 'No More Secrets', an online child protection unit using the profile of a fictional 14-year-old girl.

"He told her she was beautiful and age is just a number" said Mr Jackson.

Sherwood was granted unconditional bail. A draft sexual harm prevention order will also be considered.