March 2011

‘Strawberry paedophile’ snared by parents: Sex beast lured children as young as 4 to his padded cell 

A father snared a paedophile after his missing six-year-old daughter was lured with strawberries into the sex beast’s house, a court heard.

The young girl had been outside playing with her young friend when they wandered off out of the sight of her father’s home.

Sick Bradley McCloud, 57, took photos of the toddler and her friend and stored them on his computer with a catalogue of images of child sex abuse.

But the father and a neighbour hunted down the paedophile when the children returned from his sex den and said they had been with ‘the bad man’.

The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stormed the property in southeast London, and confronted him.

McCloud, a musician, was branded a ‘danger to children’ and jailed for 27 months when he appeared at Inner London Crown Court today.

John Causer, prosecuting, said the men dragged him onto a balcony outside where him and another dad arrived to punch him as a crowd looked on.

Police arrived to find a chilling padded cell in his home known as a ‘primal therapy box’ which the girls said they had been inside.

Officers also found sophisticated photographic equipment and a 26-inch computer screen.

Examination of his computer and camera showed McCloud had been using a long-lens to snap the girls  on their bicycles earlier that day.

Once in his home, McCloud had also persuaded one of them to adopt a sexualised pose.

It emerged another girl, the four-year-old daughter of a friend, also featured in his library of nearly 2,000 child porn images.

The child appeared naked or with her face digitally superimposed over nude teens’ bodies.Many depicted adults having sex with very young girls.

Another photo showed him performing a sex act on himself while studying his clippings.

Judge Patricia Lees said: ‘Some of these images were not simply downloaded or cut and pasted together, they were taken of children who were accessible to you.

‘They were stored by you for your own repeated sexual gratification.

‘You were photographing young children having lured them into your home, I have no doubt on false pretences so they would feel safer.  They were not safe from you.’

The judge said she believed McCloud was a danger to children, but guidelines meant she was unable to extend his licence period.

She added: ‘Your risk to very young children remains high.

‘These offences are aggravated by the breach of trust.

‘The use of that box in the furtherance of these offences is another very troubling aspect of this case.

‘The offences you have committed are so serious that the only sentence I am able to pass upon you are ones of immediate imprisonment.’

 The alarm was raised at around 9pm on July 21 last year when the six-year-olds did not arrive home after one girl said she was on her way.

Mr Causer said: ‘These two girls regularly played together and they were out together on that day.

‘The parents were not unduly concerned because they knew what the limits were about where they were allowed to go.

‘But it was getting on for nine o’clock and one of the girls’ mothers phoned the father to ask if he knew where they were. He did not.

‘A search and a good deal of noise was made while the girls were being looked for.’ 

The dad, who quickly joined the search, later told reporters: ‘I started to walk around the area, shouting her name, then screaming it at the top of my voice.   ‘By then I was starting to worry. I rang her mother and said, “It’s time to call the police.”   But I was still sure they were nearby.

‘As soon as I rang 999 I saw them. My first reaction was to tell her off.   ‘I said, ‘We have been looking for you.’ She replied,

‘We have been in a man’s house.’

The court heard she described him as: ‘The bad man’.

The little girl was able to lead him to McCloud’s three-bedroom first-floor flat and he answered the door in his boxer shorts and a t-shirt.

The father and a neighbour quizzed him about why the girls had been in there and he claimed they asked to play his drums.

The adults barged in and were shocked to find besides a drum kit and keyboard, there were also cameras with sophisticated lenses, a tripod propped against a wall and a scanner.

McCloud quickly tried to cancel an image on his computer screen but was stopped by his visitors.

‘Then a grid gallery came up of about 20 pictures, though they were blurred. I got right up close and I could see flesh,’ said the dad.

‘I pointed to one image and said, ‘I want to see that one.’ He clicked on it and it was of a little girl about my daughter’s age, fully clothed but with her legs open.’  The prosecutor said the men could not contain their anger and grabbed McCloud.

‘The girls’ mothers were also present in the flat and they recognised the girl as one of their daughters, wearing clothes she had been wearing that day,’ he added.

One of the men held onto McCloud on the balcony until police arrived and a crowd of residents looked on in shock.

The prosecutor said: ‘It is a fairly fraught scene, punches were thrown at the defendant who was dragged from the flat.

‘He was described as shocked. The other girl’s father arrived and punched him a couple of times.

‘The defendant had a cut to his face. Officers described him as seeming calm despite what was going on.’  Asked about the images, McCloud later told police: ‘Two girls were inside here earlier today.

‘They were taking pictures of each other.’  He also tried to blame a woman he claimed was staying at his flat but now admits he was lying.

Officers discovered the bizarre cushioned therapy chamber, entered by a small door, which one of the girls described as a ‘screaming box’.

The barrister said: ‘The evidence is that they had been there a number of times.

‘Details of how much touching does feature in the girl’s interview.’  The girl’s father said the six-year-old had since been ‘very clingy’ and would not sleep in her own bed.

The four-year-old’s father, a good friend of McCloud’s said it was normal for her to play naked in front of the talented photographer of ‘people and nature’.

But he added: ‘I’m not happy that he has altered one of them on his computer.’  The second dad, who arrived on the scene as the first held McCloud on his balcony, said: ‘I’m over the moon with the result, the fact that he went down.

‘I’m relieved he’s gone down and is still inside and off the streets.

‘I’m lucky my daughter’s all right and there were no indecent pictures of her.

‘But from the other parent’s point of view it’s more difficult.’  McCloud, of Cowley Estate, Kennington, southeast London, admitted 10 counts of making indecent  images of children and four counts of possession.

Three counts of child abduction, one of which relates to a third child aged seven, and one of sexual assault, were dropped by the prosecution.

McCloud will have to sign as a sex offender for 10 years and will be banned for life from working with children.