What is equally terrifying is that 38-year-old Geoffrey Rooney may never have been caught but for one single call to police by a woman who had serious concerns about what she found on her husband’s mobile phone.
Rooney, of Camperdown Street, Devonport, was tracked down by officers after the wife of another Plymouth man called police saying she had found indecent images of children which had been e-mailed to her husband.
Officers were shocked at what they learned as they investigated the man’s phone.
He had only been married to his wife for a few months, having been a couple for some time, but the e-mails revealed he and Rooney had been having a sexual affair. However, while the man just asked for sex, Rooney’s e-mails, which included indecent images of children, contained his requests for the man to bring his own children along for him to sexually abuse.
Devonport CID officers headed the initial investigation and were able to identify Rooney as the source of the e-mails. They found him at his Camperdown Street home where he lived with his long-term male partner.
His mobile phone, a Sony Xperia Z Ultra, was seized and sent to Devon and Cornwall Police Hi Tech Crime Unit (HTCU) for interrogation.
After the contents were examined what was revealed led police to launch an investigation, codenamed Operation Darkling. The Plymouth Public Protection Unit’s (PPU) Senior Investigating Officer, Det Insp Barry Walter allocated Det Con Pete Shotton to be the lead investigator.
Speaking exclusively to The Herald Det Con Shotton said he could recall one of the HTCU officers admitting that what he found was “some of the worst abuse he had seen”.
The phone revealed “a mass level of distribution” of indecent images of children via Kik messenger and Skype. It included a “mass possession” of movies and photos, ranging from category one, the least indecent, to level five – the most depraved.
Alarmingly, police realised some images were clearly taken by Rooney as he raped and sexually abused two different and very young children over the Christmas period of 2013.
The victims were identified and police were left the onerous task of breaking the news to their parents.
Det Con Shotton admitted: “Their response was complete disbelief.”
Yet worse was to follow.
The investigation found that during the sexual abuse of one of the children, who was thankfully sleeping at the time, Rooney was sending a series of pictures to another paedophile, giving a “running commentary of what he was doing”.
His phone showed that the following day, he raped a younger child. Again, he took photographs of the abuse. This time he waited two days before distributing the series of pictures on a chat log, texting comments about what he had done.
Det Con Shotton said: “He was sending the pictures and writing alongside things like ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this!’ and ‘I’m so horny’.
“The sexual gratification he was getting from it was clearly there. But it was not just about the personal sexual gratification for him. By filming it he got to keep possession of it and relive it, and he helped satisfy the gratification of other people online. It was a two-way thing for him.”
The shocking revelations continued as the phone was interrogated and police continued their inquiry.
The same Christmas period Rooney had taken a number of voyeuristic indecent pictures of another little boy. Again, as he was taking them he was posting them to another online paedophile, but this time Det Con Shotton said Rooney included descriptions of how he would sexually abuse the child “if given the opportunity”.
He added: “Fortunately, he never got another opportunity with that lad.”
The phone also yielded chat logs with a young teenage boy in Liverpool. Police said there was clear evidence that they had met and had had sexual contact.
Det Con Shotton said: “The boy was coming out as gay and Rooney was responding with comments like ‘I was just like you at your age, I remember how difficult it was and I can help you’.
“He utterly groomed the boy. We found photos of him abusing the boy and again he distributed them.”
For whatever reason, the boy did not make an official complaint, although police charged Rooney with the offence of engaging in sexual activity of a boy aged under 15.
Det Con Shotton said: “Rooney is a manipulative opportunist. He would do everything that would get him sexual gratification. He was utterly entrenched in it.
“We found hundreds of chat logs on his phone – very few did not contain an exchange of indecent images. Some of the chat logs were with young people but many were with other suspected paedophiles. “
What is equally shocking is how Rooney led such a double life, giving nothing away to others.
Det Con Shotton said: “He was trusted, respected, a loving partner. He had no previous and was of good character. To look at him you just would never know. He doesn’t look dangerous, but he has demonstrated that he is dangerous.
“I don’t know whether it’s an alter ego, but it was just hidden from his life.
“I believe we caught him at the height of his offending, but I have absolutely no doubt that he wouldn’t have stopped of his own accord and there would’ve been more victims and more distribution of indecent images of children.
“He was utterly driven by his preoccupation with child sexual abuse.
“We would never have known about him unless that wife had not called police. That one little phone call has uncovered one of the nastiest predatory paedophiles we’ve dealt with.
“In one of his chat logs he actively joked about being a paedophile.
“He gloried in it. His sheer persistence and the way he gloried in it – it makes it all the more incomprehensible.”
Police have said inquiries surround Operation Darkling are ongoing.
Rooney was found not guilty yesterday at Plymouth Crown Court of the rape of a girl aged under 16 in 1991. The jury were not informed of Rooney’s previous guilty pleas to other sexual assault offences.
He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed in the New Year following the completion of a psychiatric report.
THE STRING OF SICK OFFENCES
GEOFFREY ROONEY pleaded guilty in May to offences including one count of possessing indecent images of a child; one count of rape of a female aged under 13; sexually assaulting another female aged under 13; taking indecent photographs of children; indecent assault of a female; making indecent photographs of a child; two counts of distribution of indecent photographs of children; sexual assault of a male aged under 16 and possession of indecent photographs of children.
Rooney was cleared by a jury of indecently assaulting a girl aged under 13 between July 1991 and July 1992.
At an earlier hearing, the court was told that one of the possession of indecent images charges included 249 images of children, three of which were in the most depraved category.
The charge of taking indecent images of children are understood to amount to 13 photographs.
Rooney is expected to be sentenced in the New Year on a date to be fixed.
Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/story-single-phone-led-police-ex-Royal-Navy/story-24604183-detail/story.html#ixzz3Jq2dgJ5V
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