June 2019

Man who called himself a paedophile hunter was actually a paedophile himself

A former paedophile hunter was branded “sickening” after it turned out he had a stash of sick images involving sex with small children.

Chester Crown Court heard today that 32-year-old Carl Robinson’s vile collection of child sexual abuse images involved girls as young as four being raped.

Police arrested Robinson and searched his home address at that time on Boston Avenue in Runcorn at 6.50am on June 14 last year.

They discovered two laptops containing 15 category A indecent photographs – the worst type – 60 category B images, and 267 in category C, prosecutor Mandy Nepal told the court.

Investigations further established that Robinson had used a dark web browser to trawl online including a Russian website for sick material, and had also used “cleaning” software.

Search terms revealed a depraved sexual interest in “pre-teen” and “young teen” images.

Prompted by Judge Patrick Thompson, who said it was “important the public know what this man has been doing”, Miss Nepal briefed the court on the nature of a sample of two photographs – one a girl of “no older than four” being raped, the other a rape involving a female victim aged 10-12 years old dressed as a nurse.

Judge Thompson said it was the demand created by paedophiles such as Robinson that led to children being abused.

Miss Nepal revealed that Robinson had even been a supposed “paedophile hunter” himself, having set up two stings to meet suspected paedophiles at his own home and also at Asda in Widnes.

“Paedophile hunters” are independent groups who pose online as minors to catch abusers.

After his arrest, Robinson claimed he had sent an image of young girls he had found on Google to someone else because he wanted to be caught.

Judge Thompson observed that the sentencing powers available mean that if he were to sentence Robinson to a prison sentence, it would be around six months, Robinson would not qualify for a rehabilitation programme and therefore be more likely to re-offend.

As such, he said the court’s duty to protect the public in the longer term by trying to prevent future offending would spare Robinson from custody.

He imposed a three-year community order, a 35-day rehabilitation requirement, and a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, with the defendant to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for the same length of time.

The judge compared the punishment to a suspended sentence because any further offending will result in Robinson going to prison.

Sentencing Robinson, Judge Thompson said: “What on earth a 32-year-old man is doing viewing this sick material is just beyond me.

“I don’t accept you are a paedophile hunter, we’ve heard you say that.

“What you are is a paedophile, viewing material of very young children being raped.

“That child wouldn’t be being raped if it wasn’t for men like you so people can make money out of the abuse and exploitation of children.

“You should feel thoroughly ashamed.

“You deserve to go to prison, but it seems to me what’s going to save you is your early guilty plea and your acceptance you’ve got a problem.”

He added: “I’ve got to protect the public from men like you.

“Sending you to prison for a very short time probably won’t protect the public in the long term.

“What will protect them I hope is if you’re placed on the sexual offender treatment programme.”

Robinson must also pay a victim surcharge.