May 2022

Pervert who is ‘danger to children’ disguised himself in vile efforts to meet girl

A 63-year-old man with a ‘clear interest in underage girls’ posed as a teenage boy online and talked to a decoy account of a 12-year-old girl before later being found with more than 4,000 indecent images of children.

Denis Atkinson, of Millbeck Road, Middleton, was sentenced to eight years behind bars on May 3 at Minshull Street Crown Court and was placed on the sex offenders register for life and subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Police first received intelligence of Atkinsons’ actions on June 14 2019, when it was uncovered that in the previous November, an account on the Kik messenger app had posted an indecent photograph of a child.

Further enquiries established that the phone connected to the account was registered in the name of Atkinson at his home address in Middleton.

Shortly after, Atkinson began to chat with the decoy profile of a 12-year-old girl which was controlled by law enforcement. He messaged the profile using the name ‘Warren’ with a profile photo of a male in his late teens.

He swiftly turned the conversation to be ‘more sexualised’ before asking the child profile “So are we dating?” and then attempting to meet up in Cardiff.

Throughout the following month, Atkinson was ‘persistent’ in asking the decoy for pictures and stating he wanted to have sex when they met, despite being reminded the profile was of a 12-year-old in foster care.

In July 2020, Atkinson told the child profile that he would arrange to stay in a hotel with her and then on August 7, he sent a number of messages to the child profile, in which he confirmed that he was due to set off to the arranged location where they would meet, at which point the child profile explained that they were unable to meet him. Atkinson stated “We will have to meet some other time”.

Numerous chat logs seized by police as evidence showed that Atkinson ‘had a clear interest in underage girls’. He was arrested on December 2, 2020, by GMPs Online Child Abuse Investigation Team.

A number of mobile phone devices were seized from his address and investigators found thousands of indecent images of children, including 836 categorised as ‘Class A.’

Atkinson also attempted to sexually communicate with a large number of underage children using several different messages apps, adopting numerous fake male and female personas.

In police interview Atkinson commented “I can’t remember” and “It wasn’t me, I must have been hacked”, before then stating ‘everything is true, you don’t need to go through it anymore’.

He pleaded guilty to various offences, namely a count of attempting to meet a child under 16, four counts of attempting to sexually communicate with a child, a count of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in penetrative sexual activity, one count of possessing extreme pornography, one count of possessing five prohibited images of children, three counts of distributing category A, B and C indecent images of children and three counts of making 4,035 indecent images of children ranging from category A-C.