Facebook helped police track down a pedophile from Exmouth who downloaded child sexual abuse photos.
The internet giant reported suspicious activity on Neil Rhodes and Devon’s account and was arrested by Cornwall Police.
They confiscated his computers and found that he was searching the internet for corrupt videos and photos showing sexual abuse of girls, some as young as three years old.
Read more: Teignmouth scammer has admitted scamming £500,000 advertisment
They also discovered an online chat relationship he was having with a teenage girl in which he persuaded her to send her nude pictures.
Exeter Crown Court was told the girl had cut off contact when she discovered he had been lying to her and had been in an established relationship with a woman his age.
The 34-year-old was released from prison and given a 12-month suspended prison sentence for two offences.
He admitted taking inappropriate pictures of children and engaging in sexual contact with a child.
Attorney General Garth Richardson said Facebook made a referral to the police over inappropriate images of children from the internet that could be traced to the defendant’s IP address.
For free practical help and advice call Victim Support 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 08081689111 or live web chat at Victsupport.org.uk
For detailed local services, call Devon and Cornwall Victims Care Unit at 01392 475900 or learn more about the unit by visiting the victim victim:
Reporting a crime:
On emergency call 999. Non-emergency situations can be reported to dc.police.uk via e-chat or online form, or alternatively call 101
The police searched his home address on April 30, 2019 and confiscated several devices. Inappropriate images were found on a number of devices. It included child rape and adult abuse in the most severe categories.
The age range of the child victims ranged from three to 15 years.
Analysis of the search terms used on the devices showed that Rhodes had a sexual interest in children. One photo album was hidden on his phone in the form of a calculator app.
The messages showed that Rhodes had been in contact with a girl since she was 14 years old.
They exchanged sexual pictures of each other.
In a statement, the girl said he would ask her for sexual photos and videos in every conversation. She considered that the husband was in a relationship and said that she was not forced into anything.
But she was weak when he first called her. He seemed interested but eventually she realized that “all he wants are sex photos and videos”.
Warren Robinson, in the context of mitigation, said the crimes had taken place some time ago and that Rhodes had referred himself to organizations that could help him understand his behaviour.
Judge Timothy Rose said his actions were “extremely disturbing” but accepted that Rhodes now understood and was sorry.
“It happened over a period of three years and during the same period of time I started some form of online relationship with a real person that I knew,” the judge said.
“You were twice her age and you shouldn’t have done it in the first place.”
Rhodes was imprisoned for 12 months, suspended for two years. He must sign a 10-year sex offender registry and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order restricting his internet use for the same period.
He must do the Horizon sex offender program for 40 days and 30 days of rehabilitation with probation.
Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you like here