March 2022

Pervert dad paid schoolgirl to meet him and asked for photos of her feet

A perverted dad who paid a schoolgirl to meet him and asked for a picture of her feet had vile child abuse images on his devices.

Austin Rickerby, 43, had signed up to a website and used the name “mystical gentleman” looking to meet adults for sex but one person he spoke to turned out to be aged just 14.

Despite this revelation, he continued to communicate in a sexual manner with her and met up with her three times although no sexual activity is said to have taken place, Chronicle Live writes.

When police examined a number of electronic devices seized from his address in Blyth, Northumberland, they found that he had downloaded several indecent images and appeared to have organised them according to the ages of those featured.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the offences came to light after police had welfare concerns for the teenage girl.

She had joined the website and one of the men she had communicated with was the profile being run by Rickerby.

The girl had initially purported to be 18 but then went on to say she was 16 and then 14 at different stages.

Police went to Rickerby’s home in August 2018 and indecent images of children aged between 6 and 17 were found on various devices.

He had also carried out Google searches for “pre teen cartoons” and “you tube paedo”, the court heard.

A WhatsApp conversation with the victim was also recovered, in which he indicated “it made no difference to him if she was 14 or 15” and she said she was 14.

Nick Adlington, prosecuting, said: “He continued to communicate with her and received a number of pictures from her and had a sexual conversation.

“He asked if she would participate in a foot fetish. He asked for a picture of her feet.

“He met her three times.”

Rickerby pleaded guilty to sexual communication with a child, three counts of making indecent images of a child, possessing extreme pornography and possessing prohibited images.

The court heard there were 70 of the most serious, category A images, 23 category B, 93 category C, 15 extreme pornography images and 23 prohibited images.

Rickerby claimed to police he had ordered adult DVDs from a newspaper and later realised some contained indecent images and said he intended to hand them in to police but they arrested him before he had chance.

He also claimed he was “interested in animation” and had looked at the cartoon material without realising they were illegal.

The court heard the illegal material was found on multiple devices, including his work laptop and his wife’s computer.

The indecent images were in folders marked “5-6” and “8-12” and Mr Adlington said: “This was consistent with the estimated ages of the children, the clear inference is he has catalogued them and used a name corresponding with the age of the children being abused.”

Rickerby, 43, of John Street, Blyth, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months with a three month curfew and £500 costs. He will be subject to sex offender registration for 10 years and a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Recorder Carl Gumsley told him: “You have a good job, a family, a child, no issues with money or substances and it would be difficult for many people to understand what on earth led you to get involved in these matters.

“I’m entirely satisfied that your protestations about not being interested in children have been undermined by your plea.

“Not only did you communicate with a child but you were found to have a significant number of distressing scenes on your various technologies.

“In order for you to get satisfaction they have go through the most appalling and terrible experiences.

“You clearly have an inappropriate and unacceptable view as to children.”