Friday, November 28, 2008

Christopher Stubbings - A dangerous and manipulative pedophile

Christopher Stubbings controlled a worldwide network of paedophiles, acting as treasurer for a 60-strong network who revelled in what a judge said was "depravity" the likes of which she had never seen.

Police who raided Stubbings' home found 159,872 images and 6,448 videos of child abuse on two hard drives and a CD.

Of these were 85 were Level 5 films, the most serious category, one of the highest number ever recovered. Stafford Crown Court heard that officers rarely find more than two or three.

Stubbings was caught following a two-year investigation spearheaded by the FBI and police in Australia to bring down the paedophile ring.

Twenty-two members of his group were arrested, although the leader, known only as "Yardbird", remains on the run.

He admitted eight offences, including indecent assault, commissioning child abuse videos and possessing and distributing of sick images.

Sentencing him to 25 years in jail, Mrs Justice Julia Macur said she was appalled by details of his crimes.

She said: "In my career dealing with criminal and family cases involving the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children I have never witnessed such deplorable images and of such depravity."

She said any agency considering him for release in the future should view the footage he owned before making their decision, adding: "I do think that you are a dangerous and manipulative man."

During the complex investigation, previous attempts to crack into Stubbings' computer remotely had been foiled by a complicated web of encryption and passwords used by his sickening group.

But when officers raided his home in Kings Bromley, Staffs, in February this year, they found his computer on and ready, giving them instant access to his files.

When he was interviewed by Staffordshire Police, Stubbings said: "You know what men are like. Some choose to collect stamps. I choose to collect images of children."

Stubbings, who used the online name of Helen, was snared when officers discovered postings commissioning child abuse films and money changing hands.

As part of the investigation, eight girls were rescued, including a ten-year-old from Belgium who was forced to carry out sex acts on her father.

Paul Griffiths, head of the Victim Identification Team at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, said Stubbings' arrest was "one of the most important in its impact in UK and worldwide paedophiles".

Det Insp Ronnie Walker, who led the investigation into Stubbings' activities, said Stubbings and his colleagues went to "great and sophisticated" lengths to avoid detection.

He added: "The investigation was, due to the secrecy of the network, complex and time-consuming, and had the added urgency because live child abuse was taking place."

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