January 2020

Child molester who wiped internet history walks free from court

A ‘high risk serial offending paedophile’ who wiped his mobile phone when told to hand it over to police has  avoided a prison sentence

Joseph Ryan has a history of sexually assaulting young children and downloading sickening indecent images.

The 56-year-old, of Green Lane, Tuebrook , is subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Under the terms of the order, the pervert must not delete the internet history on any of his electronic devices.

But when a female officer went to his home on May 14 last year, Ryan refused to give her the correct PIN for his HTC phone.

Liverpool Crown Court heard she described him as being “evasive”, before he confessed: “I’ve deleted the internet history.”

She said that was a breach of his order, which Ryan accepted, but he claimed he did it “because his phone was running slowly”.

Kate Gaskell, prosecuting, said the officer thought this was suspicious, yet Ryan denied having viewed any indecent images.

The policewoman asked for his PIN and he gave her a six-digit code, which was incorrect, so she asked him to type it in.

The court heard he was “visibly shaking” and once again entered an incorrect PIN, before he claimed he couldn’t remember it.

Ms Gaskell said Ryan told the officer the phone was encrypted and needed two codes, but gave a variety of wrong numbers.

Police later received a phone call from a member of staff at a Salvation Army, who said they had talked to Ryan about it.

The witness said Ryan revealed entering three wrong codes would wipe the SIM card and delete everything on the phone.

Ms Gaskell said police experts were unable to access the device and there was no evidence what had been on the HTC.

Ryan admitted two counts of breaching his SHPO by not giving the PIN and deleting its history between 2016 and 2019.

The court heard the officer saw him again on July 15, when he was “hostile and obstructive and evasive” once more.

However, on November 20 she said he was “less hostile” and handed over a basic Nokia phone without internet access.

Ms Gaskell said the officer reported this was a positive action, as he was now minimising his own risk of offending.

Ryan was jailed for seven years in 2011 after he was convicted of nine counts of sexual assault against children under 13.

However, after he was released he was locked up for two and a half years in 2016, for downloading indecent images.

Judge McKone told Ryan: “On two occasions you deliberately tried to prevent the police from checking your phone and the only assumption the court can come to is that was because there were things on that phone that you did not want the police to see.”

However, she said there appeared to be “for the first time some progress” as his attitude had changed, he was now less hostile and evasive, and had taken “positive steps” getting a phone without internet access.

She said: “While you are in the officer’s view remaining a high risk – and one can understand why the officer came to that conclusion – I’ve also had sight of a very thorough and well reasoned pre-sentence report, in which the author of that report also feels that you have made progress since the commission of these offences, that you have admitted that you continue to have a sexual attraction to children and that you want to work with probation to make sure that there is not a repetition of any type of offending.”

Judge McKone said she believed the best way of protecting the public, specifically children, in the long term was to send Ryan on the accredited course.

She handed him 15 months in jail, suspended for two years, plus the 60-hour Horizon programme and 150 hours of unpaid work.