August 2019

Sexual predator back online within weeks of his release from prison

A sexual predator who used social media to lure children into sex and prostitution was back online within weeks of his release from prison.

Warren Bernard, 28, who was released earlier this year, was sentenced to eight years behind bars in 2015.

A judge said he “exploited technology” including Snapchat and Facebook to abuse five girls aged between 13 and 16 years old.

One of the girls was persuaded to prostitute herself from Bernard’s flat in Islington, Liverpool, after months of grooming.

He also plied the girl, 15, with alcohol and had sex with her.

Judge Andrew Menary QC, sentencing in 2015, said: “The sad and alarming fact is that none of the offences would have been possible without the use of social media and the internet. You were able to exploit that technology.”

On March 29 2019, Bernard was released from prison with strict licence conditions and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which banned him from using the internet.

Officers from Lancashire Police’s Sex Offender Management Unit visited him at Highfield House hostel in Accrington, where Bernard presented a basic mobile phone and told officers he did not have any social media or email accounts.

But through June and July, Bernard was snared by undercover officers who were investigating online predators in the North West.

It emerged Bernard had set up a KIK messenger account on April 29 – just four weeks after his release – using the names ‘ScouseJamie’ and ‘JamieL’ to express his sexual interest in children and send a naked picture to an undercover cop.

In the early hours of July 4 officers called at his hostel in Lydia Street, Accrington, and told him to hand over any internet enabled devices.

Bernard handed over an iPhone 6, claiming this was his only technology but on further examination officers discovered an iPhone 7 was registered to the same Google account.

He also had an Amazon Firestick plugged in to the back of his TV.

Bernard pleaded guilty to breaching his notification requirements by failing to tell the police his usernames, along with five breaches of his SHPO.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, said: “These offences were committed very soon after his release. If you look at the history of the Liverpool case, it is how he started his offending in Liverpool.”

Judge Beverley Lunt jailed Bernard for 32 months for each offence to run concurrently and he has been recalled to prison to serve the rest of his eight year sentence.

The judge said: “To probation you were saying everything correctly but behind their backs you were behaving like this again.

“By the time you were arrested you had set up sites using two different names and had already sent a naked photograph to an adult, a police officer, pretending to be an adult with similar perverted thoughts as you.”

March 2019: Now released

November 2015

Man used social media and text messaging to entice Liverpool schoolgirls into sex and child prostitution

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A man who used social media and text messaging to entice Liverpool schoolgirls into sex and child prostitution was jailed for eight years.

Warren Bernard, 25, of Shaw Street, Islington, abused five victims aged between 13 and 16, from September 2013 to March this year.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, told Liverpool Crown Court : “The facts of this case should be an object lesson to parents who believe they understand their children and know what their children are doing online, on social media and the internet and when they are not at home.

“The parents of these young girls had no idea at all what was going on or the nature and extent of the grooming activity they were exposed to and were participating in and the extreme nature of some of the sexual activity in which some these girls were involved.

“The sad and alarming fact is that none of the offences would have been possible without the use of social media and the internet. You were able to exploit that technology.”

Nicola Daley, prosecuting, said Bernard used Blackberry messaging, Facebook , WhatsApp and Snapchat to identify his victims while lying about his age.

He befriended one girl, aged 14, in September 2013 via Facebook, exchanging explicit pictures with her for almost a year.

On one occasion he replied to her on Snapchat by saying: “Mmmm do any of ur mates have little sisters or do u no any young girls?”

He befriended them and encouraged them to exchange sexually explicit images with him.

Bernard spent months grooming his main victim and when she was still 15 she went to his flat with a friend and after plying her with drink he had sex with her.

During Christmas 2014 he went on to further exploit and abuse the teenager by arranging for her to prostitute herself for him at his flat.

He then arranged for her to prostitute herself for him at his flat, taking her activity “to new levels of corruption and abuse” as he helped her set up an online prostitution profile and send messages to customers.

Bernard admitted two counts of controlling a child prostitute, two counts of inciting sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual activity with a child, one count of meeting after grooming and one count of attempting to meet after grooming.

Bernard also pleaded guilty to 15 counts of taking indecent photographs of a child, four counts of distributing indecent photographs of a child and one count of possessing extreme pornography depicting sex with animals.

Judge Menary said Bernard initially claimed his victims’ age was not part of his attraction to them but that was “plainly nonsense”.

He said: “Various texts indicate you were operating in a predatory manner, deliberately seeking out girls who were underage.

“You typically sent them pictures of your penis. That appears to have been your calling card. And you solicited from them explicit photographs.

“Your aim and objective was to encourage the girls to meet you for the purpose of sexual activity.”

Judge Menary said the girls may have been willing to send pictures but because of their age, lack of maturity and awareness, deserved to be protected from a predator like him.

He said their “attitudes and views of what amounted to normal sexual requests were completely corrupted”.

He ordered Bernard to sign on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and gave him a Sexual Harm Prevention Order lasting ten years.