August 2022

Weston-super-Mare man says online chat about child sex abuse was just fantasy

A man caught chatting online about sexually abusing youngsters claimed he wasn’t attracted to children. But a judge didn’t agree with him and jailed him for 20 months.

Matthew Stevens had previously been handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning inappropriate activity online. 

Police, however, found he had conducted lewd chats about children and posted inappropriate images – including an “upskirt” photo of a girl aged between six and eight.

By the time officers located him he had deleted his internet history. But Bristol Crown Court heard experts used URL evidence to establish that he had been viewing indecent material – and he was also found with a movie and still image of youngsters aged four and six being sexually abused.

Stevens, 46, of Shrubbery Avenue in Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order between March and June 2019. He also admitted possessing two indecent images of children in July 2019.

Today (August 16) Judge Mark Horton jailed him for 20 months. He told Stevens: “You divorced yourself from recognising the savage reality that you gain enjoyment from watching the sexual abuse of young children.”

The judge concluded Stevens was a danger to the public. He barred him from working with children and vulnerable adults.

Emily Evans, prosecuting, said in April 2019 Stevens chatted online to an undercover police officer about sexual abuse of a young child. The court heard Stevens had posted a picture of an erect penis, and talked about how he enjoyed going to a primary school and looking at youngsters.

After he posted an “upskirt” image of a girl aged six to eight, police swooped on his address and seized his computer tablet, finding the movie and still photo, both deemed to be in the highest abuse category.

Though he was found to have deleted chunks of his internet history, experts were able to establish he had viewed child abuse material, had multiple online chats and had shared photos.