Nov 2008

Paedophile who ran child porn ring jailed after police discover 200,000 images of sex abuse at his home

A management consultant who ran an international child pornography ring from his village home, hoarding more than 200,000 depraved images in the process, was jailed indefinitely yesterday.

Paedophile Christopher Stubbings, 55, was the second-in-command in the sick group of 60 members around the globe who traded in sickening images which they protected using state-of-the art security encryption.

A court heard heard yesterday how Stubbbings acted as treasurer for the group from his home opposite a primary school, where detectives discovered a computer hard drive containing 200,000 images of sexual abuse children.

A further 6,448 videos of child abuse were also recovered, with 640 images and 85 videos in the worst ‘level five’ category of abuse.

Police usually find only one or two films per raid in that category.

Stubbings set new members of the sick group an exam, with questions based on existing Internet child pornography.

He claimed through his barrister that most of the children featured in the images ‘enjoyed’ what was happening to them.

Setencing him to serve at least twelve-and-a-half years before being considered for parole, Mrs Justice Julia Macur told Stubbings: ”These images turned my stomach and showed your depth of depravity.’

The judge added: ‘You have not at any time shown remorse, contrition or empathy to the fact you entered into a life you knew was to the detriment of the victims of these crimes.

‘In my career dealing with criminal and family cases involving the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children I have never witnessed such deplorable images and of such depravity.’

The group commissioned and traded in acts of abuse from other paedophiles around the world.

One member of the network, a Belgian, even abused his own daughter in footage he then shared with the rest of the network.

Stafford Crown Court heard police attempts to hack in to Stubbings’ network remotely had failed such was the sophisticated security the group had set up.

They used almost impenetrable encryption software, plus passwords known only by each member.

But Stubbings, was caught red-handed when police knocked on his door to arrest him in February – and found his computer switched on.

The images were then quickly sourced to the computer’s hard drive.

The arrest followed a two-year investigation by law enforcement authorities around the world, including the FBI.

The offences came to light when Australian officers discovered online postings commissioning child sex films.

Prosecutor David Friesner QC said: ‘Stubbings and other members of the group were observed by police putting money internet accounts for the purpose of funding these videos.

‘It goes some way to show the sheer scale of your activities that the police officers investigating could not view every one of those videos and images.’

Darron Whitehead, defending, said Stubbings knew ‘he would be viewed as a monster’.

Stubbings of Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to indecent assault, arranging child prostitution, facilitating child sex offences and making and distributing child pornography.

In all, 22 members of the gang were arrested, many of them in America. The network’s leader, who called himself Yardbird, is still on the run.

Eight girls were rescued, including the ten-year-old from Belgium who was abused by her father.

Heath Westerman, Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service in Staffordshire, said: ‘To say he was the most serious and most sophisticated paedophile I have ever seen is not an understatement.

‘Not only did he co-found the group he was the treasurer for the funds that commissioned more of these vile videos.’