April 2023

Smirking paedophile ‘traded’ twisted child abuse images on Snapchat

A married foster carer is behind bars after “trading” videos of horrific child abuse on Snapchat with other paedophiles.

James Billingsley-Taylor, 32, – who smirked on his custody photo – bizarrely tried to claim he was not sexually aroused by child abuse and had was simply conducting “research”, despite asking other paedophiles “can you see their face” in conversations about sharing sick videos.

Billingsley-Taylor, of Price Street, Birkenhead, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting two counts of distributing indecent images of children, three of making (downloading) indecent images and one of possessing indecent images, all between December 2021 and August 2022.

Steven Ball, prosecuting, told the court Merseyside Police received a referral over a Snapchat account sharing foul images and videos of child abuse.

That account was linked to Billingsley-Taylor, and his former address in Tranmere was raided by police on August 25 last year.

Mr Ball said: “The officers spoke to the defendant about various accounts he was associated with. He said he had deleted the accounts or forgotten the passwords, and denied any had been used to access indecent images of children.

“However, his Samsung mobile phone, which to his credit he had given the password for, was interrogated and it showed him to have been in possession of 395 images.”

Mr Ball said those images included 287 pictures and videos classed as Category A under sentencing guidelines, meaning they showed the most severe form of child sexual abuse.

Mr Ball said: “Detectives commented that the videos were graphic and quite distressing. They featured overwhelmingly young boys from the ages of mere months old to pre-pubescent and young teenagers.”

The court heard Billingsley-Taylor admitted being in contact with other online perverts on social media platforms including the Telegram app, and used the cloud storage and hosting service Mega Cloud to store the images.

Mr Ball said: “He sent these images on to other on-line users, trading them for more.” In one conversation with another paedophile, he asked if there were “any with Dad and can you see their faces?”.

When interviewed by police, Billingsley-Taylor admitted his offending but claimed he “acted out of stupidity” and denied any sexual interest in the abuse of children. In court, Judge Stuart Driver, KC, said that claim “flies in the face of common sense”.

Bernice Campbell, representing Billingsley-Taylor, said her client had “lost everything” and his husband had left him. She urged Judge Driver to spare Billingsley-Taylor an immediate prison sentence, suggesting society would be better served if he engaged in programmes to address sexual offending.

However Judge Driver said: “There are aggravating features; some of the children you watched on videos being raped were very young indeed, including at least one baby.”

Billingsley-Taylor looked visibly upset as he was jailed for two years, and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

He was also ordered to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), severely restricting his internet use, also lasting a decade.