indecent images of children

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Childminder’s husband caught with more than 221,000 indecent images of children jailed

Published April 2, 2015 by JS2

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Wirral pensioner David Ramsay, 68, admitted viewing sick images when children were in his house

A childminder’s husband caught with a sick stash of more than 221,000 indecent photographs and videos of children was jailed for 10 months.

David Ramsay, 68, admitted seven charges of possessing and downloading indecent images – some of sexual abuse victims as young as five.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the offences were made worse by the fact that Ramsay’s wife would have been minding children in the house when he viewed the images.

The pensioner, of Littleton Close, Prenton, downloaded the images from October 2010 to May 2014 but was caught when police raided his home on May 8 last year.

Louise Santamera, prosecuting, said he confessed to officers he had looked at pictures of children and said: “I don’t agree with distribution.”

During police interview the grandad claimed he had “kept meaning to delete the images” but had formed “an obsession”.

A total of 658 of the indecent photographs recovered by police were of the most serious category, Category A.

Some 4,030 were Category B and the rest – 217,147 – were the least serious, Category C.

Ramsay had 1,587 video files, 51, of which were in Category A while the majority, 1,338, were in the least serious category.

Ramsay, a former marine engineer and seafarer who retired in February “to spare his embarrassment”, had no previous convictions.

Gerald Pachter, defending, said his client had made full and frank admissions and “100% co-operated with the police”.

He said: “One can only imagine the effect this has had not only on him but on his family. His wife is in the gallery here – disgusted, appalled, ashamed – but supportive.

“She said: ‘In all the years I have never seen my husband behave in an inappropriate manner to children in my care or take photographs that were of concern’.”

He said Ramsay’s bedroom was out of bounds for children in her care.

Mr Pachter added that Ramsay had given up a family holiday and spent £1,000 voluntarily attending a sex offending programme in Leeds.

Judge Mark Brown made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order restricting Ramsay’s use of computers for 10 years and told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register.

He said: “I recognise this case is a tragedy both for you and your family. You are 68, you have no previous convictions, indeed you are a person of positive good character.

“However, there is clearly a different side to your character.”

The judge said it was a “vast” number of images which depicted “appalling” abuse.

He said: “It is a fact that were it not for individuals such as you who wish to view such images then the market for them would not exist.

“There is no doubt in my mind that public duty requires me to impose upon you an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

by Niel Docking

Bitcoin: Blockchain could become ‘safe haven’ for hosting child sexual abuse images

Published March 30, 2015 by JS2

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The blockchain, the public ledger of transactions in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, could be used as a safe haven for hosting illegal data, including child abuse images, according to cybersecurity experts.

A new report, published by Interpol cyber threat researchers including a Kaspersky Lab expert, has found a flaw in blockchain, as hackers could embed malware or other illegal data within virtual currency transactions.

“Depending on the cryptocurrency and its protocols, there is a fixed open space on the blockchain – the public ‘ledger’ of transactions – where data can be stored, referenced or hosted within encrypted transactions and their records,” Kaspersky Lab says in a statement.

“The design of the blockchain means there is the possibility of malware being injected and permanently hosted with no methods currently available to wipe this data. This could affect ‘cyber hygiene’ as well as the sharing of child sexual abuse images where the blockchain could become a safe haven for hosting such data.”

In addition, the open space could be used to deploy modular malware, to conduct zero-day attacks, and create illegal underground marketplaces dealing in private keys.

“Having identified this threat, it is now important for INTERPOL to spread awareness amongst the public and law enforcement, as well as encourage support from communities working in this field to find solutions for the potential blockchain ‘abuse’,” said Noboru Nakatani, executive director at Interpol unit Global Complex for Innovation.

“We hope that bringing potential problems to light now will help in improving such technologies in the future and will make it more difficult for them to be used for any malicious purpose,” said Vitaly Kamluk, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Jerrin Mathew

Company director Stephen Butterworth exposed as paedophile after leaving USB stick at solicitors’ office

Published March 17, 2015 by JS2

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A COMPANY director was exposed as a paedophile after leaving a computer memory stick in a solicitors’ office.

Stephen Butterworth, 68, had no previous convictions and had “triumphed” over a difficult childhood, having been brought up in care, Hull Crown Court heard.

But a different side to his character emerged when he dropped and lost the USB storage device during a visit to Heptonstalls solicitors in Goole on April 24 last year.

Keen to find out who the owner was, staff plugged it into a computer and had a “nasty shock” when it displayed indecent photographs of children, as well as documents belonging to Butterworth.

Police were called and searched his home in Bretton Avenue, Goole, where they found a further five memory sticks on which he had stored indecent images of children.

In total, he had 879 indecent images, including 125 films.

Of the photographs, eight were designated at Category A – the most serious – while 13 were Category B, and 733 were Category C.

There were two films at Category A, 18 at B, and 105 at Category C.

The youngest victim was aged five and the eldest 13, but most of the images featured girls aged between eight and ten.

The court heard Butterworth downloaded the images at work and stored them on external devices.

It was not known how long he had been downloading the images for as his work computers automatically deleted their internet search history after a certain period.

Butterworth is a sole director of two companies employing 30 people, and the lead negotiator for a property consortium which is planning to develop farmland, the court heard.

Paul Norton, defending, said: “He has been asked to continue in that capacity even though he offered to resign because of these offences.

“They thought only he was the appropriate person to do it.”

Mr Norton also said Butterworth’s family and friends had shown “significant loyalty” to him by offering support.

Referring to a pre-sentence report, Mr Norton said Butterworth was “keen to address the motivations of his offending and to avoid the commission of further offences”.

He had also engaged with the child protection charity Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Mr Norton said.

Judge Mark Bury sentenced Butterworth to a three-year community order, with a requirement that he attend 45 sessions of the Northumbria sex offenders’ treatment programme.

The judge said each image represented an abusive episode for a young child, and told Butterworth: “The gravamen of these offences is that, while there are people such as yourself to look at these images, there will be a market to abuse children and that’s the serious matter of these offences.”

Butterworth must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and was made subject to a sexual offences prevention order for the same period.
Hull Daily Mail

Google and Microsoft’s blocks on child porn cuts searches by 70% in what has been hailed as a ‘precipitous drop’

Published February 17, 2015 by JS2
  • Google and Bing agreed to remove child abuse images from search results
  • There has been a 70% drop in searches since change in November 2013
  • David Cameron called on search engines to stop failing in their ‘moral duty’
  • Study found searches on sites with no blocks continued at same rate

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Online blocks on child porn have led to a nearly 70 per cent drop in searches for the material, a study has revealed.

The first research to examine the global impact of blocking child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) found there was a ‘precipitous drop’ in searches after the measures were put in place.

Google and Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, agreed in November 2013 to remove child abuse images from search results and show warnings when certain search terms were used.

David Cameron had called on search providers to stop failing in their ‘moral duty’ to protect children and announced that households with children would automatically have filters on their internet service that parents would have to ‘opt in’ to lift – a victory for the Daily Mail’s campaign to protect children from online porn.

The US study, published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, analysed search traffic levels for keywords commonly used by people searching for CSEM between January 2011 and August last year.

It found searches for such material dropped by 67 per cent in the final year studied – the period following the introduction of the blocks.

Research author Professor Chad Steel, of George Mason University, Virginia, said the results showed ‘technical controls aimed at prevention can be effective’. He said: ‘The blocking efforts by Microsoft and Google…had a rapid and significant impact on child sexual exploitation material searches. The results show a precipitous drop in such searches.’

But the study found such searches on Russian search engine Yandex – which has no such blocks – had continued at the same rate. Possession of child porn is not illegal in Russia and its distribution and production is only illegal when it relates to children under the age of 14.

The lack of blocks on some international search engines meant it was still possible to find illegal material.

Professor Steel added: ‘Searchers from Russia and other locations where child pornography possession is not criminalised have continued to use these services. Additionally, the same lax enforcement environment has allowed searchers from the US to utilise Yandex with little fear of detection or referral to US law enforcement from the Russian authorities.’

Nearly a third of all searches for CSEM came from smartphones or mobile devices such as tablets.

Last week it was revealed that the number of children being counselled through ChildLine about online sexual abuse has more than doubled in a year. The charity said it carried out 2,842 counselling sessions on the issue in 2013-14, a 168 per cent increase on 2012-13. It had also seen an 87 per cent increase in the number of counselling sessions about online bullying.

Last month the country’s most senior judge Lord Thomas said the ‘peddling of pornography on the internet’ was fuelling violent crime.

Rosie Taylor

Clifton fish and chip shop worker was convicted paedophile

Published February 12, 2015 by JS2

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A fish and chip shop delivery man in Clifton was a convicted sex offender who had a stash of child porn films and images of young boys at home, a court heard.

Andrew Moffatt had not informed police he was staying at another address apart from his flat or that there was a four-year-old boy living there.

Nothing untoward happened with the child, Nottingham Crown Court heard, but Moffatt, who was jailed in 2004 for indecently assaulting three children, between the ages of seven and 14 years, was required to inform officers of any change of address or contact with children.

As a lifelong registered sex offender, police found out Moffatt was regularly staying at the other address and there was a child under the age of 18 years.

When the child’s mum found out about Moffatt’s past she said: “I’m absolutely disgusted how he’s taken my trust.”

Last November, officers searched the flat Moffatt was registered to be living at in Clifton and found three items containing indecent images – a DVD and two films, each one-and-a-half hours long, of nude boys aged between ten and 12 years.

Moffatt, 36, whose last address was The Glen, in Clifton, had two A4-sized colour pictures printed out of naked boys aged between eight and ten years.

Judge Michael Stokes QC, who sentenced him to three years in prison yesterday, said: “You must have known you were taking a tremendous risk and anyone knowing your background and were aware of what you were doing would have appreciated immediately you should have been where you were.”

At court, he pleaded guilty to failing to register an additional address and was handed a 12-month prison sentence. Two years were added concurrently for not registering the address where there was a young boy was living.

Concurrent sentences, totalling 12 months, were imposed for making and possessing indecent photos of children, to run consecutively to the two years.

A Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) was imposed, banning any unsupervised contact with children, and his case has been referred to the barring agency to stop him working with children.

Moffatt said in police interview he bought the films online and thought they were legal.

His lawyer, Digby Johnson, said his client, who had casual employment delivering fish and chips in Clifton, had been a carer of his aunt in Top Valley but she passed away, as did two other relatives.

“He became lonely and more introverted and bought 30 DVDs from a site on the open web, not the dark web, and downloaded the pictures.

Nottingham Post

Teenager ‘obsessed’ with watching child porn had 3,000 sickening images

Published February 11, 2015 by JS2

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A TEENAGER who confessed he was “obsessed” with watching images of children being abused has been spared jail.

John King had almost 3,000 sickening pictures and movies when police came to his home after a tip-off in December 2013.

The 19-year-old told detectives what they would find on his computer when they arrived at his door, and admitted he had been viewing such images since he was just 12.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told Newcastle Crown Court: “He said, during the course of police interview, child porn had become an obsession with him.

“He accepted he had last viewed such imagery on his computer that day.”

King, of Glencourse, East Boldon, pleaded guilty to making and possessing 2,879 illegal images of children. The pictures and video clips ranged from the most serious to the least serious categories.

Judge Simon Hickey sentenced him to a community order for three years with supervision, sex offender treatment programme requirements and a sex offenders’ prevention order for 10 years.

King must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Judge Hickey said: “You immediately admitted what you had been doing, and immediately admitted how long you had been doing it. You were a child yourself when you started looking at such images and continued to do so, which is sad in the extreme.

“Imprisonment, while richly deserved, would not address the problem. No-one would help you, no-one would stop you.”

Vic Laffey, defending, said King has never been in trouble before and was of “exemplary” character.

Mr Laffey said: “His reaction on arrest was relief, he knew this day was coming.

“This is one of those cases where I can say, with some confidence, this young man will never appear before a court again.

“He acknowledges the impact and shame he has brought upon his parents.”

Mr Laffey said King has co-operated with the authorities since his arrest and will continue to do so.

‘Rasputin research’ led bard Les Merton to indecent images of children

Published January 15, 2015 by JS2

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A Cornish bard accused of abusing young girls mistakenly accessed a website with indecent images of children while researching Rasputin, he told a court.

Les Merton, 70, wept at Truro Crown Court as he denied abusing the girls over a 20-year period.

Asked why he had given the site his credit card details, Mr Merton said he had “naively” entered them while researching the Russian mystic.

He accepted a police caution in 2005 over the matter. The trial continues.

Mr Merton is a poet and author of The Official Encyclopaedia of the Cornish Pasty.

He has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of indecent assault and four of indecency with a child from 1983 to 2004.

Rasputin defence

When asked by defence barrister Jo Martin, if he had sexually abused any of the women who gave evidence against him, Mr Merton, 70, of Penryn Street, Redruth, replied: “No.”

Mr Merton broke down in tears in the witness box as he gave evidence relating to the time of the alleged abuse.

Ms Martin asked the defendant how he had come to enter his details on what she described as a child pornography website, which led to him accepting the police caution.

The defendant told the court he had been researching Rasputin online and had accidentally gone onto the site and “naively” entered his details.

“I didn’t look at any images once I saw the thumbnail images,” he said.

Cornish bards are appointed by the Cornish Gorsedh which honours people for “outstanding contributions to Cornwall and its ancient culture, history and language”.

The trial continues.

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