The BBC have reported that seven men from across the UK have been jailed by Judge Julian Lambert for acts of “terrifying depravity” issued with prison sentences which range from two years to 24 years.
The group of paedophiles, who lived at addresses across England, raped and assaulted three children between 2013 and 2014.
Robin Hollyson, 30 from Bedfordshire, Christopher Knight, 35, from Manchester, Adam Tomms, 33, from Somerset, Matthew Standfield, 34, from Hampshire, John Denham, 50, from Wiltshire, David Harsley, 51, from Hull and Matthew Lisk, 32, from East Sussex were convicted of more than 30 charges between them.
Bristol Crown Court heard the men groomed families to get to children. The judge said: “In the worst nightmare, from the very deepest recesses of the mind, at the darkest hour of the night, few can have imagined the terrifying depravity which you men admit.”
The inquiry began in September 2014 when one of the defendants Adam Toms dialled 999 and was heard crying down the line. He was arrested after officers were sent to his home following concerns for his welfare and he admitted sexually abusing a child under the age of five. This triggered the uncovering of an organised crime group, and the resulting inquiry was led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
‘Evils of the internet’
Following the news of the conviction of these seven men, who the judge branded as acting “beyond human instinct” leading child abuse lawyer Peter Garsden spoke on BBC Radio London. Commenting he said: “When you’ve been doing this kind of work for 20 years nothing really shocks you but this is one of the most shocking cases I’ve ever heard of. It’s hard to believe that a category of such perversion even exists but it does and I’ve heard of it before and thankfully it’s been given a very severe sentence”.
Referring to the Paedophile ring, Mr Garsden was asked how these men even begin to approach somebody with something this horrific without the concern that they may be a police officer, a lawyer or a concerned citizen. Replying Mr Garsden said: “This is a testament to the evils of the internet. It’s far easier to contact people you don’t know through the internet. Networks of paedophiles all over the world can share vile information very easily”.
Asked about the problems of relying on the conscience of a criminal to identify himself to the authorities Mr Garsden commented: “It’s a testament to the national crime agency, they’ve obviously put a lot of work into this and have traced links throughout the country and have brought these men to trial without the digital evidence it would have been very hard to convict them because we would have been relying on the oral evidence of one against another. It’s difficult to know what to say and no doubt members of the public will say that no sentence of imprisonment is enough and something far more severe should be done but obviously we’re limited by the sentences that the law can impose”.
To listen to the recording of Peter Garsden’s interview on BBC Radio London on Friday 11th September click play below.