June 2020

The ‘depraved and dreadful’ child molester who shared sick pictures with other paedophiles

A “depraved” paedophile who confessed to molesting a child in an online chat with an undercover police officer is starting a long prison sentence today.

Daniel Richard Childs, 31, begins an extended 15-year sentence still in denial about the sexual motivation for his behaviour.

He talked to other paedophiles about child abuse in a chat room, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He went further and claimed he had done “everything” with a child while talking to an undercover officer via social media.

He revealed he had abused children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and had taken pictures and videos while doing so.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds described Childs’ actions, many of which are too distressing to report, towards the young children.

Childs sent photos of a child to the officer and asked the officer for similar pictures, the court was told.

Officers from the North-east paedophile investigation team moved swiftly to protect children and preserve evidence which would have been deleted.

They traced Childs to his Teesside home and seized his phone which contained 44 child abuse images.

It revealed he had sent an indecent video to a like-minded person in an online chat.

A victim’s mother said in a statement she was devastated and angry and sometimes did not feel like it was real.

She said she dreaded the day she would have to explain what happened, but her family had rallied and pulled together.

Childs told police he had discussed fantasy role play with others and sent images, saying he was lonely and depressed.

He confessed to the sexual assaults but denied gaining sexual gratification from his actions.

“He said he was hugely sorry, embarrassed and ashamed and that his life was over,” added Mr Dodds.

He pleaded guilty to 12 sexual offences in January and appeared in court via video link to Durham Prison for sentencing on Tuesday.

He admitted six charges of sexual assault on a child, two of sexual activity with a child, one of distributing and three of making indecent photographs of children, his first conviction.

He denied a charge of rape, which was left to lie on the court file.

Childs was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children in 2017. Police found relevant search terms but had insufficient evidence and took no further action, the court heard.

Judge Stephen Ashurst described Childs’ crimes as “dreadful” and “exceptionally serious”.

He said: “Not only did you touch them sexually, but you also captured the abuse in images you were willing to share on social media with other like-minded men.

“Your crimes were planned.

“You had your mobile phone at the ready to film your activities and potentially share the images with other depraved men.

“What you did was to take part in online discussions with like-minded men. That was a chat room for those who had a particular interest.

“It is of course somewhat distressing to discover that there are such groups of like-minded men willing to discuss and share images of abuse.

“Your arrest of course was dramatic. The police are to be commended in this case for acting very swiftly when the undercover officer was made aware of your activities.”

The judge said Childs ignored the “warning shot” in 2017 and might have been given “comfort” by the inability to prosecute him then.

He said those related to the victims were “horrified and remain in shock”.

He added Childs was in denial about his motives, played down the harm he caused and focused on his own unhappiness.

He ruled Childs posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public, with the Probation Service assessing him as a high risk to children.

Childs was given an extended 15-year sentence.

This consists of a 10-year jail term, of which he will serve at least two thirds before the Parole Board decide whether it is safe to release him, plus five years’ extended licence.

He was given a restraining order and will be on the sex offenders’ register, both indefinitely.