August 2009

Sex offender targeted children in phone boxes

POLICE are today seeking more victims of a depraved sexual predator who used a “sophisticated scheme” to target young girls.

Officers are urging anyone who believes they may be a victim of Derek Hindmarch, 46, to come forward.

Hindmarch, of North East Lincolnshire, used public telephone boxes to lure young girls into sending him explicit photographs of themselves.

In exchange, he would give them cash, cigarettes or alcohol.

Grimsby Crown Court was told that Hindmarch has a previous conviction from July 1996 for three charges of using the telecommunications system for offensive matters, and that the calls involved children.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: “I find it hardly credible that, between 1996 and now, you have led a blameless life.”

Today, senior child protection officials have warned of the dangers of talking to strangers.

Hindmarch, whose address cannot be printed because of a court order, used the complicated scheme – thought to be the first of its kind in the country – to attract his 20 victims.

He was branded “depraved” by a judge, who said he was “luring girls into a form of prostitution”.

Although most of the offences were committed in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area, Hindmarch would also travel to other areas of the country to target girls.

He would:

Lie in wait near public telephone boxes until he saw young girls walking past.

Call the telephone box, hoping they would answer.

If they did, he would ask them if they wanted to make some money.

He would then ask them to send photographs or videos of themselves – usually in school uniforms or bridesmaids dresses – to Hindmarch’s mobile telephone.

The court heard that he also sent some of the girls explicit images of himself, and met two of the girls face-to-face and made sexual requests.

He admitted 20 counts of causing or inciting girls to engage in sexual activity, two counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming, and 13 counts of making indecent photographs of children between January 2007 and May 2009.

Prosecuting at Grimsby Crown Court, Caroline Wigin said that Hindmarch had a pay scheme which revealed he would pay £10 to the girls for pictures of their naked upper body, and £20 for images of their naked lower body.

He would also pay extra for more explicit images or videos, the court heard, and would pay the girls by taping money to a telephone box or leaving cigarettes or alcohol for them to collect.

Hindmarch was caught after an extensive three-month surveillance operation involving officers from the national Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

He was jailed for 12 years, will be on the sex offenders register for life, and was also banned from owning a mobile phone with a camera or a webcam for life.

People who think they may have been victims of Hindmarch are asked to call Det Sgt Stuart Watson on             (01472) 264564      .