A MALVERN man has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to child sex offences online.
The sentence was handed to 33-year-old Robert Evans at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.
He was arrested in March 2019 by West Mercia Police’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team as part of ‘Operation Safenet’.
Forensic examination of digital devices recovered from Evans showed he had been using false social media accounts to target and befriend children. Evans incited children into sexual communications and online sexual activity which he recorded.
Evans was also found to be in possession of indecent images of children including some in the most severe category.
Evans was charged with three counts of making indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child, three counts of distributing an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child, one count of engaging in sexual communication with a child and four counts of attempting to cause/incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was also guilty of one count for causing/inciting a child U13 to engage in sexual activity and one count for causing a child to watch a sexual act.
He has been registered as a sex offender and given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order ad well as the jail term.
Det Ch Insp Gavin Kinrade said: “Evans preyed on some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and has rightly been brought to justice today.
“He targeted children using false profiles on social media platforms and incited children to engage in sexual communications and activity which he recorded for his own sexual gratification.”
He added whilst social media and the Internet provided a wealth of positive opportunities, children and parents needed to be aware of the dangers and know how to spot signs of online child sexual exploitation.
He encouraged parents and guardians to take an active interest into who their children were talking to online.
He paid tribute to the painstaking work undertaken by officers who dealt with the case and traced the children involved and for the children’s bravery in coming forward to provide evidence of Evans’ offending.
“I hope this will encourage other victims to speak out in order to gain the justice they deserve and prevent dangerous offending. We want victims to know that we will always treat their reports seriously.”
Anyone who has been a victim of online sexual abuse or worried about someone being abused should call police on 101.
Anyone who is a victim and felt like they needed support, or may not want to contact the police can call West Mercia Police’s Victim Advice Line on 0800 952 3000 or visit www.victimadviceline.org.uk