August 2023

Paedophile hid pictures of girl on iPhone ‘calculator’ app

A man tried to blackmail what he thought was a 12-year-old girl into sending him naked pictures.

Calum Fairclough, 26, used the online name “Mistressmeg2000” to lure in what he thought was a young girl and offered to “help her work out whether she liked boys or girls” before sending images of his private parts.

He asked her to send him pictures of her breasts, and when she refused, he threatened to “post her pictures all over the internet and send them to her mum.”

However, he had no idea that the supposed 12-year-old was in fact an undercover police officer.

On June 28 2021, Fairclough was arrested at his home on Quigley Avenue, Netherton. His bedroom was searched and his mobile phone and iPad were seized by police.

Some 289 illegal pictures and videos of children were found on his phone, including some in the most serious category A, and 64 on his iPad. These included 243 indecent images of a teenage girl known to Fairclough.

He appeared at Liverpool Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent photographs of children, possession of indecent photographs of children, two counts of taking an indecent photograph of a child (categories A and C), attempted blackmail, attempted sexual communication with a child, and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Prosecutor Daniel Travers told the court how Fairclough was discovered after he messaged the police’s decoy profile asking if she wanted to be his “submissive little girl”. He asked the “girl” for pictures of her breasts and was sent back a close-up picture of her crop top

He said: “When the profile refused to send the pictures (of her breasts), ‘Mistressmeg2000’ threatened to post her pictures all over the internet and send them to her mum.

“‘Mistressmeg2000’ tried calling the profile via Snapchat and said if she was to show her breasts on the call then they would delete the pictures.”

Turning to the indecent images of the other girl found on Fairclough’s devices, he said: “The images included ‘first generation images’ – images that appears to have been taken by the suspect as opposed to obtained from other sources. A still was taken of the female victim.”

A total of 243 illegal files depicting the girl were located in a Calculator+ iPhone app which allowed a user to put his photographs and video files within a “secret vault” which appeared to be a calculator app.

The court heard that Fairclough had made contact with the girl on Snapchat and had begun badgering her for pictures.

Mr Travers said: “He told her what parts of her body he wanted her to send pictures of. She said no at first and he told her to ‘do it now, now, right now’. She said she felt upset by this. She said she also sent him videos of her whole body. He sent her videos of him performing a sex act. She said she felt uncomfortable, and she told him. He said ‘I feel comfortable’.”

Sentencing Fairclough to a total of four years in prison, Judge Eric Lamb said: “You’re at medium risk of future offending, and contribute a high risk of substantial harm to young children that you may encounter. You will be subject to a multi-agency approach which will seek to steer you away from the type of offending which you have shown.”