An Illawarra man has claimed a random person stole and used his phone to send lewd messages to his stepdaughter, a court has heard.
The Balgownie man, who can not be named in order to protect the identity of the young girl, appeared in Wollongong Local Court where he was refused bail.
He has been charged with using a carriage service to send indecent material to a person aged under 16 and using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend.
Documents tendered to court reveal the man was in a relationship with the teenage girl's mother for almost two years, with the family living together.
Police will allege the man started sending the girl messages on several social media platforms, including Snapchat, in an "inappropriate and indecent" way in late 2019.
Police allege the man asked his stepdaughter if she was "good".
"I'm sorry I made u feel that way. Ur turning into a beautiful teen [it's] hard not to look," the message read.
Police also allege the man attempted to bribe the girl with gifts in exchange for him seeing her in underwear.
"Hold on to the money ok bub. I got you some new sexy underwear," another message said.
"Tell no one bout us on here."
Police allege the man also commented on the girl "growing up" and was getting "bigger lung's [and] lung's mean boobies (sic)".
Police said the girl had to threaten to tell her mother about the messages to try to make him stop sending them.
"U are not coming in... I will tell mum," one message read.
The police facts said the girl felt "offended" by the messages and told someone, who took photos of the exchange and informed the mother, before reporting the messages to police.
Police arrested the man on January 8 before charging him at Wollongong Police Station.
When interviewed, police said the man described the messages as "disgusting" and "inappropriate behaviour". He denied sending them, instead claiming someone stole his phone and used his social media account.
In court on Monday, the man's defence lawyer Greg Melrose suggested his client had lost his phone and had tried to cancel the SIM card, however could not as he did not have a photo ID card.
Mr Melrose told the court the man could not afford to buy a photo ID card, and as the phone was prepaid, he decided the missing phone was not worth the trouble.
Mr Melrose also suggested the prosecution case was "weak" and on the "lower end of offending" when assessing the messages outlined in the police document.
Magistrate Michael O'Brien refused to grant the man bail noting his lengthy criminal history and the "serious offence of a sexual nature".
Magistrate O'Brien also disagreed with Mr Melrose, stating the case appeared to be "strong" and given the man's criminal history, a custodial sentence was likely if he was convicted.
The matter will return to court on February 21.
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