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Warrington paedophile handed prison sentence following BTP investigation

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Craig Stewart

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 A 33-year-old man who groomed young girls and persuaded them to send him sexually explicit images has today been handed a prison sentence and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. 

Craig Stewart of Clay Lane, Warrington, appeared before Liverpool Crown Court today where he was sentenced.

Detectives from British Transport Police were first alerted to Stewart’s behaviour back in July 2016 whilst carrying out a separate investigation into the exploitation of a 15-year-old girl. 

When they examined her phone, they identified a series of conversations between her and Stewart. Detectives then traced the phone to the defendant and an arrest was made in September 2016.

Using the alias of ‘John Edwards’ the defendant sent messages to a number of young girls, and asked them to share explicit photos of themselves. Stewart used photos of unknown teenage boys in order to persuade his victims to send explicit photos of themselves to him.  

Stewart had also made efforts to try and meet with his victims, who were from around the country, although physical contact was never made.  

Stewart pleaded guilty to five counts of causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography contrary to section 48(1) of the Sexual Offences Act, and eight counts of making indecent images of a child contrary to section 1(1)a of the Protection of Children Act and one count of causing or inciting  child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, contrary to section 8 (1) of the Sexual Offences Act. 

Det Con Olly Saunders from British Transport Police said: “Stewart used an alias of a young boy in order to groom the girls. Over a period of time he exploited a number of young girls for his own sexual gratification. The steps he took in order to lure his victims into sharing extremely personal photographs was disgraceful. 

“Stewart knew full well that the girls he was speaking with were below the age of 16. When we examined his mobile phone and laptop we uncovered some 120 indecent images and videos of children. 

“I am very pleased with the sentence which the judge handed down today. It means that a sexual offender has been taken off our streets and is no longer able to exploit his victims.

"I'd like to take this oppertunity to thank colleagues from the National Crime Agency, Metropolitan Police, Police Scotland, Greater Manchester Police and Devon and Crornwall Police."

Notes to Editors

Stewart has been convicted of making indecent photographs of a child and six counts of causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography. 

 In total he will serve three years and four months’ imprisonment.

He has been given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order indefinitely prohibiting him from: 

  • Using any device capable of using the internet unless:

 i) It has the capacity to retain and display the history of the internet usage

ii) He makes the device available on request for inspection by a Police Officer

  • Deleting the history of any internet usage contained on any device used by himself
  • Downloading or installing any messenger apps or software including (but not limited to) Skype or BBM, but not including What’s App (which is, for the avoidance of doubt, not prohibited).
  • Possessing any device (including USB sticks and memory cards) capable of storing images unless he makes it available on request for inspection by a Police Officer or designated person including Police staff and Probation officers).
  • Purchasing or downloading any evidence elimination software.
  • Using any computer or electronic device which is capable of accessing the internet unless the device is installed with risk management monitoring software (such as Future Digital) approved by the Police force responsible for monitoring him save for the purpose of lawful employment.
  • Attempting to, tampering, interfering with, removing, bypassing, disabling or altering any components or setting relating to the installed risk management software.
  • Having any unsupervised contact with, approaching, touching or making any attempts to communicate with any female under the age of 16 other than with the consent of the child’s parents or guardian who has knowledge of his conviction(s)
  • Residing in any premises with any child under the age of 16 who is not his own unless he has both:
  • The permission of the parent, carer or guardian who have prior knowledge of his convictions
  • Written permission from the local Social Services department or Public Protection Unit.

 

 

 

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