Paedophile gang guilty of raping babies and streaming it live online Richard Hartley-ParkinsonWednesday 22 Apr 2015 3:31 pm Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messenger (l-r) John Denham, Matthew Stansfield, Matthew Lisk, David Harsley, Robin Hollyson, Chris Knight, and Adam Toms (Picture: PA) A gang of paedophiles who raped and abused babies, toddlers and children in attacks that were streamed over the internet are facing lengthy prison sentences. The sex ring preyed on the families of the youngsters they targeted, in one case grooming a mother and father before their baby was born. Members would often travel long distances to carry out the sickening attacks together or watch the abuse over the internet if only one had access to a victim. Chilling online chat revealed that members of the gang, who live across the UK, would offer advice and guidance to others on drugging their young victims. Seven men – aged between 30 and 51 and including three convicted sex offenders – were brought to justice following an investigation led by the National Crime Agency. The shocking details can be reported in full for the first time after the trial of John Denham, 49, from Wiltshire, and Matthew Stansfield, 34, from Hampshire, ended today at Bristol Crown Court with their convictions. Less MORE: A vigilante gang has been finding suspected paedophiles online and assaulting them The others – Robin Hollyson, 30, from Bedfordshire; Christopher Knight, 35, from Manchester; Adam Toms, 33, from Somerset; David Harsley, 51, from Humberside and Matthew Lisk, 32, from East Sussex – had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges they faced. They all face significant prison sentences and some could be jailed for life when they return to court on a date to be fixed. Hollyson, who was previously known as Robin Fallick, Stansfield and Harsley are already convicted sex offenders while Denham, who changed his name from Benjamin Harrop, was a respected youth football coach. Less In total they faced more than 30 charges, including the rape of a child, conspiracy to rape a child, sexual activity with a child and administering a substance with intent against three victims – a baby, a toddler and a pre-school age child. But investigators, speaking before today’s verdicts, believe there are other victims. MORE: Girls locked in bedroom every night so mum can sleep with paedophile The gang hid behind a veil of respectability with careers and families to habitually target children under the age of five in Yorkshire, the South East, and the South West. Police described the men as ‘monsters in disguise’, working together to commit some of the most ‘vile and depraved’ child sex offences the authorities have ever seen. The NCA, which led the investigation, said the perverts met after discussing their sexual interests in young children on legitimate social media and adult sex sites. The gang was described as ‘incredibly skilled’ at grooming victims’ families, even striking up relationships with pregnant women to abuse their babies. Graham Gardner, deputy director of investigations at the NCA, said the ring ‘has got tentacles that go round the world’. Less MORE: Paedophiles ‘using bitcoin’ to buy child sexual abuse images online, watchdog finds The men, who did not know each other outside of their involvement in the abuse, led respectable lives – including a married former actor and a businessman – and concealed their activities from the outside world until they were unmasked. Mr Gardner said: ‘They don’t stand out as monsters, but they are monsters in disguise. We rarely see criminal behaviour involving the sexual abuse of children to this degree. ‘This is serious organised crime at its worst. The men involved in this group actively targeted families to facilitate the sexual abuse of their children, toddlers and babies. ‘The depravity of these men appeared to know no bounds and is without doubt as vile as we have seen.’ The NCA launched its investigation, codenamed Operation Voicer, last September after Toms contacted police and admitted he had abused a child. MORE: ‘Hero’ who won award for rugby tackling mugger is outed as paedophile Their inquiries led to the unmasking of the ring operating across the UK, which had links to other paedophiles across the world. In the weeks that followed, the other six members were arrested and a further two victims were identified. Another 21 children have been the subject of safeguarding measures in relation to the investigation. The NCA has worked closely with the Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Humberside, Wiltshire and Sussex forces, as well as the Crown Prosecution Service and nine local authorities. Police combed the suspects’ electronic communications and established that contact between them began on adult online sex forums, which are publicly accessible and legal to use. Investigators recovered Skype chat logs that recorded conversations between the men, which were described as ‘disgusting’ and ‘abhorrent’ by police.
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