May 2009

Paedophile jailed for grooming at least 26 victims

A MAN with an obsession for young girls was locked up for five years yesterday after a judge heard he amassed a collection of indecent home-made photos and videos.

Christopher Grinter was said to have acted like a film director when he persuaded teenagers to pose for him using webcams linking his home and the girls’ bedrooms.

Grinter groomed at least 26 victims nationwide and even more from abroad from his home in Forcett, North Yorkshire, during a campaign of coercion and bullying.

After carefully selecting targets from social networking websites, he initially complimented them and asked them to send photographs of themselves.

Grinter, 26, then engaged in sexual email conversations with them and encouraged the girls to strip and perform sex acts in front of the computer-linked cameras.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that Grinter would take videos and photographs and store them alongside the text exchanges as keepsakes, Grinter’s home was raided in February last year after the parents of two girls contacted the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.

He was released on bail, but again tried to get in touch with one of his victims, and was arrested again three months later.

Mr Newcombe told the court that Grinter spoke to the girls about rape, incest and paedophilia, and “employed various tactics to keep them engaged”.

He told the court: “If ever a victim expressed a reluctance or unwillingness to take part, he would ramp up the grooming, telling them he was offended or hurt.”

John Ellwood, in mitigation, said Grinter believed he was operating in “an unreal world” where the people were imaginary, but now realises his victims exist.

Mr Ellwood said his client came from a good family and had been a hard-working man, but had brought shame on his parents and himself with his actions.

Judge George Moorhouse resisted locking up Grinter indefinitely for public protection, but warned him that he could be if he offended in a similar way again.

Grinter was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life and banned from having unsupervised contact with under-16s or owning a computer.

He admitted 17 charges of making indecent images, possessing 1,305 photographs and 60 videos of child abuse, four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two of causing a child to watch sexual activity.