A convicted sex offender with internet scanning software on his phone and an alias email account was arrested just months after he got out of court.
Anthony Combs was on a suspended sentence at the time after being convicted of engaging in sexually explicit conversations with what he believed to be girls aged 12 and 14, and was also subject to a sexual harm prevention order designed to control his online activities.
After sending the 22-year-old to prison, the judge said he did not believe the accused had any intention of complying with the court’s orders.
Read more: See the latest cases from courts across Wales
Dean Pauling, the attorney general, told Swansea Crown Court that on the morning of February 4 this year, police went to Combs’ house and asked to see his electronic devices. The defendant handed over the Huawei mobile phone, and the officer noticed that the internet history of that day is only in the browser history. A detailed examination of the phone found that the phone has an app that has a data erase function, and that Coombes has an email account with the name “Bennypern”. Defendant is prohibited from erasing his or her Internet history or using aliases when creating an email account under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
In his subsequent interview, the defendant said he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to delete his online history, and said the cleaning app came with the phone he bought used. He agreed that he created the alias email address, but said that this was for use only on his X-Box game console.
Check the crimes reported in your area:
Anthony Stephen Joshua Combs, of Cooley Court, Moncton, Pembroke, had previously pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of (SHPO) when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
The court heard that in October 2021, Combis was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended at Swansea Crown Court for two years for attempted sexual intercourse with a child, possession of indecent photographs of a child, and failure to comply with sexual offense notification requirements. These crimes saw Combs contact what he believed to be two girls aged 12 and 14 on a site called Chat Hour, and engage in sexual conversations with them before requesting intimate pictures.
In fact, the girls’ profiles were scam accounts run by adult members of so-called pedophile hunter groups, and the woman who ran one of the traps called the police after finding Combs’ Facebook page and found out he was befriending real young girls. . When the defendant was arrested, officers found two indecent photos of girls between the ages of 8 and 12 on his phone downloaded from the Kik messenger app. The court heard that after pleading guilty to the crimes in August last year, the case was adjourned for a pre-sentencing determination – Combs was released on bail but then failed to register with the police as he was required to do so as a sexual offender.
The prosecutor said the defendant also had a conditional warning from 2017 – when he was a juvenile – to commit the crimes of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, and of sending inappropriate pictures after he admitted sending pictures and videos of his penis to girls between the ages of 14 and 15.
Judge Paul Thomas QC said Combs was given a “merciful” ruling in October last year, but it was clear to him that the defendant had no intention of complying with the requirements of the sexual harm prevention order. The judge sentenced him to eight months in prison for violating the order and activated 10 months of the previous sentence with a suspended sentence to run consecutively to be sentenced to 18 months in prison. Combs would serve up to half of that period in custody before being released under a license to serve the remainder in the community.
The Sexual Harm Prevention Ordinance remains in effect.
To get the latest news from WalesOnline sent to your inbox, click here