August 2004

Paedophile Army cadet major jailed

NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their shock after it was revealed a Barnard Castle man offered to supply a schoolgirl for sex on the internet.

Married Army cadet major Andrew Shaw, executive officer of the Cleveland Army Cadet Force, plotted the rape with paedophile postman Alan Lawson. He was jailed for 10 years and Lawson was sent down for eight years.

Shaw, 49, sent Lawson pornographic photos of himself naked with the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons. She was not an Army cadet.

Lawson, 33, sent e-mails to Shaw speaking of giving the girl a date-rape drug to knock her out for sex.

They were sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on February 18, but the Mercury has, until now, been banned from reporting this after a Section 39 order of the Children and Young Persons Act was imposed by Judge Peter Fox QC.

But a legal challenge was made in the Court of Appeal against the order and evidence was provided by Mercury editor Adrian Braddy to support the challenge.

Lawyers argued successfully a Section 39 order can only be used to protect the identity of any child or young person concerned in proceedings, not adult defendants.

Shaw was originally jailed for 14 years and Lawson for 10, but Judge Fox reduced the sentences a fortnight later.

Shaw was arrested in a dawn raid on his flat at The Old Courthouse, Queen Street, Barnard Castle, on March 9, in a joint operation between Durham Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police.

MoD Police spokesman Steve Partridge said: “This was a wide-ranging inquiry which began after information was passed to the MoD Police following an investigation by the authorities in the US.

“Dedicated officers spent almost a year piecing together the electronic trail of evidence which helped lead to the identification of the two offenders and resulted in their successful prosecution.

“We believe the sentences of ten and eight years handed down by the court adequately reflect the seriousness of their crimes.”

A Durham Police spokesman added: “We supported the MoD Police’s operation to arrest Shaw and we went with them to his home in Barnard Castle.”

Residents expressed shock at their neighbour’s crimes.

Kim McColligan, a mum who lives across the road from Shaw’s old flat, said: “No-one knew for sure what he had done, there were some rumours flying about that it involved young children, but the truth was shocking to find out. It’s not something you would expect to happen here.

“Barnard Castle has always been a safe place to bring up your children. It is fortunate to be free of the many dangers that children come across in bigger cities. I have children myself and to have this happen on our doorstep is sickening.

Parents Stephen and Caroline Hughes, who also live in Hall Street, said: “You simply don’t know who would do these things until it is too late. 

“Every parent looks out for their children to make sure they never come across these people. Nowadays parents need to be extra careful about where their children go and what they do.”

Mr Hughes also spoke of the need for authorities to keep a close eye on people suspected of crimes involving children.

He said: “Parents can only do so much to protect their children. The police and authorities do need to keep a watch on people who have the potential to harm children and act sooner rather than later. 

“The internet is a dangerous tool and is wide open to misuse. We really do need to have a body that ensures its effective regulation.”

Shaw used the name of a sixties pop star, Tony Orlando, in e-mails to Lawson, who was a member of the Danish Paedophile Association. They never met face-to-face.

Lawson suggested the girl should be given spiked drink or drugs to enable a sex session, said prosecutor Graham Reeds.

The photographs from Shaw were found on bachelor Lawson’s bedroom computer at his Isle of Wight home.

Shaw said: “I hold my hand up to everything that I have done and I am deeply ashamed. I never entered into any agreement that anything should happen to her for real.”

A jury found the pair guilty of conspiracy to rape. 

Lawson of South Street, Ventnor, and Shaw earlier pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing internet child porn.

Lawson had 5,583 indecent images of children and Shaw 3,484.

The judge told them: “The jury found you both guilty of a grave crime, that of conspiracy together to rape a young girl. The circumstances of this matter are utterly deplorable, completely shocking. 

“The jury and I have now heard of your obtaining perverted sexual gratification from seeing images of other young children being so dreadfully abused, and it was your serious intention that this innocent girl should join their ranks and be subject to appalling abuse by each of you.

“Shaw, you had begun to groom her. That has to be concluded from some of those photographs you had sent to your co-accused.”

Lawson e-mailed Shaw pornographic photos of other young girls and he also sent him aDVD compilation of his collection through the post.

Shaw told him that he had some indecent photographs of the young girl which were taken the previous summer and he e-mailed them to Lawson.

Mr Reeds said: “He knew that he was sending them to a person who was sexually attracted to children of her age.

“Shaw offered to supply the girl to Lawson so that Lawson could commit sexual offences against her. 

“The agreement was intended to be carried out but the police arrested Shaw before he could supply her to Lawson.”

When Shaw was arrested police recovered 43 photographs of the girl from his computer, of which 27 were indecent.

Lawson was arrested on April 28 last year at his home and a hard disc which he had created had 21 photographs of the girl including some which were obscene. 

One obscene pose also featured a naked Shaw.

Mr Reeds added: “The prosecution say they were sent because there was an agreement between them that Lawson should have sexual intercourse with her or at the very least that she be sexually assaulted after she had been incapacitated by drink or drugs.”

Shaw said in evidence that he became interested in internet child porn after separating from his wife of 20 years, when he moved into the Barnard Castle flat. 

He told Teesside Crown Court that he chatted to hundreds of people on the net about child sex, and that much of the talk was fantasy. 

He said that most people’s aim was to get hold of pictures of children having sex. 

Shaw said that he asked the schoolgirl if he could take photographs of her and she agreed. In some shots they were both naked. 

He sent the photographs to several men, including Lawson.

Shaw added: “I have spoken to a lot of people about those photos. I got a lot of trades back.”

He said: “There was never any intention to do anything with the girl.

“In chat there was some talk about it but only in the usual lines about wouldn’t it be fun to have sex with young girls, but there was no formal or informal agreement.”