June 2020

Father caught with indecent images of children on his phone claimed he was trying to ‘track down paedophiles’

A father caught with indecent images of children on his phone claimed he was trying to ‘track down paedophiles’.

Police searched 45-year-old Danny Smith’s home after receiving intelligence from the National Crime Agency.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that when police arrived at his house in May 2018, he pulled one officer to one side and said he ‘knew why there were there’.

He said that he had been online ‘trying to track paedos’ and that he had contacted paedophile hunter groups on Twitter.

Smith, a mechanic, had his mobile phone seized, and it was found to contain almost 100 indecent images of children.

Investigators found six category A images, the most serious type, with 18 category B and 73 category C pictures.

All of the images were ‘inaccessible’, prosecutor Philip Hall said.

The majority of the images featured children aged from 10 to 12, the court heard.

Police also found a chat log from a website where Smith said he had an ‘interest’ in ‘schoolgirls in uniform’.

They also found he had accessed a Russian website known for hosting indecent images of children.

In an interview with police, Smith said he had a ‘hatred’ of indecent images.

He said he worked on Twitter to help find missing people, and that he had ‘stumbled’ upon a link to a chat room.

Smith said he had contacted a journalist, asking them to investigate a chat room which contained ‘unpleasant’ conversations.

The court heard the journalist advised Smith to report it to the police.

Prosecutors said that Smith had contacted the journalist before the indecent images found on his phone were created.

In another interview, he told police he had been trying to ‘track down’ and ‘trap’ paedophiles.

Smith, of Elizabeth Street, Denton, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

Judge Angela Nield sentenced Smith to a two year community order, including 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 200 hours of unpaid work.

He must sign the sex offender’s register for five years.