September 1999

Pervert who ran website netting millions from schoolgirl and farmyard sex Web sites, has escaped jail – because he’s sick

Graham Waddon

A pornographer, who helped run the UK’s biggest Internet vice operation, has been spared jail because of ill health.

The case was heralded as a major legal landmark in the fight against Internet porn because it showed the content of US-based sites could come under British jurisdiction.

Graham Waddon, 28, played a key role overseeing a string of “cyber sin” sites from his terraced house in Surrey.

But his sites, with names such as Farmsex, Europerv and Schoolgirls-R’us, were all based in the US.

Southwark crown court heard that just one of the sites could earn him £4,500 per day.

Judge Christopher Hardy sentenced Waddon to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. He said he accepted Waddon suffered from considerable health difficulties.

Police said Waddon, and his fellow computer designer, and former fireman Raymond McArthur-Jones, 35 – already jailed for a separate pornography offence – were distributing some of the most obscene and vile photographs police have found on the Internet. Sex with animals, torture, and other vile activities were available for £20 a month.

Waddon met McArthur-Jones by communicating with him on the Internet and ran what started out to be a perfectly legal operation, specialising in web site design for small local firms.

The unmarried Waddon, who ran the unofficial Queens Park Rangers football club website, had also planned to set up a local business directory.

The judge said: “I’m told that he is currently in custody serving a sentence of 23 months in the US, having pleaded guilty to being involved in child pornography.

“You therefore Waddon alone remain to carry the burden of the sentence for these offences.”

The court heard that for a monthly subscription of £20, customers were able to key in to a “revolting” variety of American-based Internet porn sites.

One such site made £19,000 in a single day.

Despite the ground-breaking court case two of the sites continue to operate, their foreign base putting them beyond the reach of the UK police.

Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said that as far as the Crown could gauge, the operation now had a new owner, was being run from Costa Rica and no longer had anything to do with Waddon.

The operation had generated £607,000 profit for Mr McArthur-Jones, while Waddon earned more than £126,000, which he spent on a legitimate but ailing Website design company.

Police confiscated £600-worth of computer equipment when they raided his home.

The judge said that because subscribers needed a credit card to access the porn sites, “it was unlikely lonely teenagers surfing the Internet in the small hours would have access to this material”.

Waddon had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 11 sample counts of publishing obscene articles on the Internet on or before June 1997.

He also pleaded guilty to one charge of having an obscene video for publication for gain.

During the past three years hundreds of thousands of photographs have been published. The sites built up a world-wide customer base that was thousands strong.

The couple first came to the attention of Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Unit in 1997. McArthur-Jones bought a BMW convertible, a Jaguar and a Range Rover. At the time, he was supposed to be on sick leave from the Fire Service, suffering from a bad back.

The two men were enjoying a break in a plush Spanish villa in September 1997 when officers searched Waddon’s home, his father’s address in Worcester Park, south London and McArthur-Jones’s house in Ealing, west London.

Waddon admitted 11 sample counts of publishing obscene articles on the Internet on or before June 1997. He also pleaded guilty to one charge of having an obscene video featuring a dog for publication for gain. Yet many of the adult sites are still operating, despite appeals by Scotland Yard to American companies to have them closed down. Waddon may have sold the rights to the sites, but no-one can be certain.