May 2023

Police officer posing as 12 year old girl snared Cirencester paedophile

A 46-year-old Cirencester man has been jailed for three years after he admitted numerous charges of possessing indecent images of children and attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Jack Barry, prosecuting at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (May 2) said police began an operation in the Autumn of 2021 to tackle online child sexual abuse and one officer posed as ‘Izzy,’ a 12-year-old girl.

“Robert Wills, a convicted sex offender, was tempted by this and instigated an online conversation with Izzy and told her his name was Darren,” said the prosecutor.

“He told the undercover officer that he was formerly a teacher but was now an office manager in Burnley.

“During the conversation he said he was six feet and four inches in height and was single.

“As the conversation developed over the coming weeks, Wills began calling Izzy his ‘baby girl’ and would always add kisses to his messages.

“On February 12th he began telling the girl that he loved her, and referred to her as being sexy.

“Wills claimed that he had dated girls of her age many times before and added, ‘I’ve dated girls where we met up. I’ve also dated mums and had a relationship with their daughters at the same time.

“He went on to explain what he did on a date. He would take her to places to eat, watch films, kiss and have sex.

“On February 25, Wills started referring to Izzy as his ‘girlfriend’ and would often tell her that she was really sexy and that he was really turned on by her photographs which made his ‘heart bubble with delight’.

“Wills told the girl that when they did have sex he would take precautions so as not to make her pregnant and added, ‘Honestly, I can’t wait to teach you how to kiss and how to suck my willy and for you to experience the delights when I suck your p***y too’.

“On February 28, Wills called the undercover police officer’s mobile phone and during the conversation he told her he had a white van. The conversations then continued on various social media platforms during the following month.

“He stated on one occasion that he was masturbating while watching child pornography featuring girls of her age and told her, ‘I wish I was with you doing these things’.

“Wills told Izzy that he had been previously been talking to a girl from Wales and he had ‘done stuff’ prior to talking to her.”

The court was told that the police made enquires using the telephone number he had used and his user names on various social media accounts, during the conversation with the undercover officer.

Police then attended Wills’ home address, at which he was listed on the sex offenders’ register, on April 5. He was arrested on suspicion of having sexual communication with a child. His digital devices were seized and these contained 496 indecent images of a child in category A, the most serious, 406 images in category B and 410 images in category C.

The court was told that he also had 51 prohibited images contained on his devices and when he was arrested he was found to be in possession of 17 grams of amphetamine, a class B drug.

On October 16, last year, the police attempted to re-interview Wills and when they went to his address they found that he had moved out and hadn’t informed the police or the sex offenders’ register as to his new address, breaching the terms of his court order. He was later tracked down to his current address in West Market Place, Cirencester.

In his police interview Wills claimed he knew all along that ‘Izzy’ was not who she said she was and was trying to catch her out. He stated he resorted to this type of activity when he was ‘in a dark place.’

The court was told that Wills had been placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years following his conviction for possessing and distributing indecent images of children in March 2013. He had been sentenced at that time to a prison term of 24 months.

Wills pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing indecent images in categories A, B and C on April 5, 2022, one count of possessing 51 prohibited images of a child and one charge of extreme pornography with an animal, two charges of distributing indecent images of children, attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Wills also admitted failing to comply with the terms of being on the sex offenders’ register and possessing 17 grams of a class B drug, namely amphetamine.

Judge Rupert Lowe told Wills: “I have to sentence you for 10 offences connected with your ongoing obsession with sex with children.

“Previously in 2013 you were sentenced to a two year prison sentence for a series of offences of making and distributing indecent images of children. You therefore know perfectly well what the deal is when you offend in this way.

“Every time you download indecent images of victims involved in a violent rape of children and babies creates a market for your entertainment and those with the same interest.

“In addition to downloading the images, you distributed them to others and on this occasion you engaged in sexual communication with a child, a 12-year-old on social media.

“You told this undercover police officer that you had dated lots of girls of a similar age, and their mothers. You told her that you wanted to do all the things you had fantasied about including full sex.

“Luckily for you this was a police sting, and no real 12-year-old girl was involved. You seem to like risk-taking behaviour.

“I also have to consider your ‘dangerousness’ and represent a risk to children in the future. I have been persuaded by your lawyer that at your age and there have been no further attempts to meet up with children, that you are not dangerous in this legal term.”

The judge sentenced Wills to a three year prison term and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of all the digital devices containing the offending images and the drugs.

The judge subjected Wills to the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for life and indefinite sex offender registration.

Judge Lowe concluded: “You can describe your offending as being in a dark place, but your desire to entertain yourself by viewing these indecent images of children, is something that you give way to. It’s up to you in future. If you can’t resist that urge you will be kept in prison.”