Computer technician '˜plumbed depths of depravity' trying to arrange child sex abuse online

AN IT technician was caught by undercover police after arranging to sexually abuse children.

Tuesday, 22nd August 2017, 9:52 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:13 pm

Steven Byrne was told by a judge that he had “plumbed the depths of depravity” after hearing the vile nature of his offending.

Byrne, who was given an extended prison sentence totalling eight years, was arrested during a police operation to catch paedophiles online.

Leeds Crown Court heard Byrne made contact with a fake profile set up by officers in an internet forum.

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Byrne believed he was chatting to a father-of-three and sent messages about wanting to have sex with babies and children.

Byrne stated that he was looking for parents who were prepared to let him have sex with their children.

During the course of the internet exchanges Byrne also sent graphic images of child abuse.

Deborah Smithies, prosecuting, said Byrne arranged a meeting at an ASDA car park in Doncaster in June this year believing a he was meeting a parent and child and intended to sexually abuse the youngster.

Byrne, of Elm Place, Knottingley, was instead met by police officers and arrested.

He pleaded guilty to arranging or facilitating a child sexual offences and three offences of making indecent images of a child.

The prosecutor said: “The view expressed is that this defendant presents a high risk of serious harm to children.”

Marcus Waite, mitigating, said Byrne, in IT technician, pleaded guilty to offences at an early stage.

He said: “The defendant has indicated that he does not want access to the internet ever again.”

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told Bryne he considered him to pose a serious risk of causing physical or physiological harm to children in the future.

Byrne must serve a custodial period of four years, followed by a further four years on licence upon release.

He said: “You have plumbed the depths of depravity. It is difficult to imagine a more depraved case such as this.

“There was an element of determination here and I am satisfied that it had not been undercover officers, sexual activity of the kind described would have taken place with a child.”

Detective Inspector Steve Greenbank of Wakefield District Police, said: “We welcome the sentencing of Stephen Byrne today for very serious offending.

“Byrne came to police attention through social media and had conversations in which he actively discussed abusing a child and as a result, we took the decision to make an early arrest and conduct wider investigations.

“Some very disturbing imagery was found on computer storage recovered from his property and when presented with the evidence collected against him, he entered a guilty plea.

“The length of his sentence makes clear how seriously authorities take sexual offences involving the youngest and most vulnerable in society.”

Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, District Commander of Wakefield Police, said: “Protecting young children from harm has been our key priority in Wakefield District and we have invested heavily, as has the rest of the force, in our specialist child protection teams.

“Byrne has been convicted following a thorough and detailed investigation by my officers who took the decision to arrest him at the earliest opportunity to prevent him having the opportunity to carry out his horrible and wicked intentions.

“We continue to encourage anyone who has information about sexual offending against children or anyone in Wakefield to contact us at Wakefield District Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”