May 2022

Paedophile found dead

A paedophile who was due to be sentenced for sending sexual messages including pictures of his erect penis to what he thought were underage girls has been found dead, a court has heard.

Roger Leadbitter, 61, was caught after he began to send explicit messages to four different accounts online that appeared to belong to young girls, without realising that in reality he was messaging an undercover Metropolitan Police officer.

In one instance, he had contacted who he thought was a 12-year-old girl online and had sent her images of an erect penis and had asked her to perform a sex act.

On other occasions, he had sent similar messages to three other underage accounts with pictures of his erect penis, whilst suggesting oral sex and questioning how they masturbated

During a conversation with one account, whom he believed to be a girl under the age of 16, he had asked her “repeatedly” if she had ever touched a penis.

He was arrested as part of a “sting operation” and pleaded guilty to the four charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

However, during his sentencing hearing on Friday (May 20) at Isleworth Crown Court, it was heard that Leadbitter, of Uxbridge, had died on April 30.

Addressing the court, Judge Patricia Lees said: “I am content that it seems to me the coroner’s letter is conclusive that the defendant is dead and therefore the court won’t pass sentence.”

His cause of death is yet to be ascertained and his case lies with the West London Coroner’s office