April 2018

Tip-off from America led police to Corwen man’s collection of child sexual abuse images

A tip off from America led police to search a house in Denbighshire where child porn was uncovered.

North Wales Police received information from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited children based in the US that AOL emails linked to defendant Michael Crawford had contained indecent images of children.

Officers went to his home at Bryn Eglwys, Corwen, before 7am on December 14 and seized three items of electronic equipment.

Analyses showed that that there were 136 images of category B and C – and one extreme image depicting sex acts between a woman and a dog.

Crawford, 60, admitted two charges of making images by downloading them from the internet and one charge of possessing the extreme image.

Mr Recorder Gregg Bull QC, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said on Thursday that such offences were always regarded as serious by the courts .

“While I accept that you were not abusing a child, children were being sexually abused in order to create these images.

“The court has a duty to protect children from exploitation that results in photographs being taken of a disgusting nature that gives gratification to the likes of you,” he said.

His offending had gone on for some four years and the images involved children as young as eight.

“The court can best protect children by imposing upon you, for your first convictions in your life, a community based sentence,” he said.

That would assist the defendant to re-structure his life and deter him from “looking at this filth again”.

Crawford was placed on a two year community order and must attend a 50 day course suggested by the probation service.

He was ordered to sign the police sex register for five years and a five year sexual harm prevention order was made to control his future use of the internet.

Crawford was ordered to pay £85 costs after it was conceded that it was a case that could have been dealt with at the magistrates’ court.

Prosecuting barrister Jade Tufail said that the main concern of the magistrates had apparently been the consequences of a breach of any court order and they had sent the case to the crown court for sentence.

She told how information was received from The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that an AOL email address registered to the defendant had been used in connection with indecent images of children.

When police executed a warrant at his home he denied any knowledge or responsibility for such material but an examination of his computer equipment recovered the images which were in a folder named “teen”.

Ultimately the defendant accepted that he was responsible and he admitted the charges at Llandudno magistrates’ court in February.