TV magician Richard Bellars sent nude photos to underage girl

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By Kent and Sussex Courier | Friday, September 21, 2012, 08:01

A WELL-KNOWN television magician from Tunbridge Wells has been warned he could face jail after exchanging naked pictures with an underage girl.

Richard Bellars, 31, is one of the most recognisable people in the town – but his career is in tatters after pleading guilty to sending sexual texts to a 15-year-old girl he met during his epic 100-hour magic show.

In one, he told her: "I will hold you down and rape you."

Bellars, from Sandhurst Road, famously outwitted celebrity illusionists Penn and Teller on ITV's Fool Us show hosted by Jonathan Ross and made it through the first round of the latest series of Britain's Got Talent earlier this year.

But he is now on the Sex Offenders' Register.

The father of one appeared at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after reporting himself to police over the texts.

He told the Courier: "I hope people can see what I did for what it was.

"I am not a bad man, I am a good man that did a bad thing.

"I handed myself in to the police and will be punished for my actions."

The court heard Bellars swapped details with two 15-year-old girls during his marathon, non-stop show in Market Square off Camden Road in May, a high-profile event in aid of the Royal Victoria Hall, Southborough.

One of the girls and Bellars became friends on Facebook and soon were chatting on Skype.

Days later, unprompted, the girl texted a topless photograph of herself. Bellars deleted it but then asked her to re-send it.

He then sent her a picture of himself in the bath and several of him performing a sex act, as well as the text suggesting rape.

He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Sexual Offences Act.

Defending, Brian Ferris said the girl texted Bellars "something like, 'we'd better get our story straight'" after she discussed a "hypothetical situation" with a police officer who gave a talk at her school.

Instead Bellars walked in to Tonbridge Police Station and admitted the texts and pictures.

Mr Ferris said: "He went in to the station and said 'I have been texting a girl. She is only 15. It has gone beyond something I should have done'."

Mr Ferris added: "As a self-employed magician one supposes that career will be very much over with."

Bellars will be sentenced on October 12.

He bowed his head when chairman of the bench Paul Harvey said: "We consider these offences are serious enough to consider a custodial sentence.

"I saw you drop your head when we mentioned custodial sentence.

"It does not necessarily mean you are going in to custody."

"I made a stupid mistake": p7


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