January 2006

Jailed for grooming boys online

An Oxford graduate has been jailed for four years for grooming boys over the Internet and being part of a paedophile ring.

Paul Watson, was found with more than 2,000 computer images, Internet movies and photographs of teenage and young boys being sexually abused.

He was caught after police linked him to a man in Wales facing a string of sexual abuse charges.

Officers discovered the Oxford University biomedical sciences graduate contacted the man via the Internet from a computer at his home in Yeats Close, Cowley, asking for indecent photographs to be taken of a boy performing a sexual act.

Closer examinations found a “significant number” of pictures showing the man in Wales abusing the same boy and others. Police also discovered photographs of three boys Watson, 29, had made contact with via an chatroom run by Internet provider MSN. Rachel Drake, prosecuting, told Oxford Crown Court that Watson had persuaded the 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds to send him pictures of themselves performing sexual acts in May and October, 2004. Police had been unable to identify any of the abused boys.

He was arrested on December 24, 2004, and released on bail — but was taken into custody after police became aware he was using a second computer to continue accessing indecent pictures.

Miss Drake said that while there was no evidence to show that Watson had abused children himself, his activities were linked to paedophiles elsewhere.

Miss Drake said: “Many of the images are from websites, but a significant number are images sent by attachment to emails by the man in Wales and another person who appears to be in South America.” Watson admitted 19 counts of making and possessing more than 2,000 indecent images of children, three charges of taking indecent photographs of children and one of incitement to make indecent photographs of a boy.

He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court to four years’ imprisonment.

He was also disqualified from working with children and his name added to the Sex Offenders’ Register.