February 2023

Perverts who use app warned they will get a ‘knock from police’ as man, 23, appears in court

Perverts who use a popular messaging app to look at sick indecent images of children have been warned that they are taking the “huge risk” of very quickly getting a “knock on the door” from police.

Those involved think that they have “safety in numbers” because so many other people are viewing and distributing the disgusting images but they could get a nasty shock that lands them in prison, Hull Crown Court heard.

The warning came as Matthew Hickingbotham, 23, of Anson Villas, Paull, near Hull, admitted three offences of making indecent photographs of children between August and September, 2021.

Holly Thompson, prosecuting, said that Hickingbotham used a messaging and communication app to download indecent images of children from the internet and 33 images were found on his phone after police went to his home

They included eight in the most serious Category A, seven in Category B and 18 in Category C. They were in a cache folder but, because the app had been removed, they could not be accessed.

The images involved children aged three to four and others aged 13 of both sexes.

Hickingbotham discovered and joined groups on the app, which was used to exchange images.

He at first claimed that he did not have a sexual interest in children but later admitted that he did, although he would not have acted on this.

Hickingbotham was given 30 days’ rehabilitation, a sex offenders’ treatment programme and a five-year sexual harm prevention order. He must register as a sex offender for five years.

“I don’t think you need to be told how close you were to going to prison,” said Judge Bury. “I hope it will be the wake-up call that it appears to have been.”