Febuary 2007

A PERVERTED salesman has been jailed for his part in an internet plot to rape two young girls.

“Rape-obsessed” David Beavan, 42, of Shackleton Square, Bransgore, and two co-defendants “drooled” over the prospect of taking the sisters into woodland and sexually abusing them.

Southwark Crown Court heard how they had discussed doing a “Holly and Jess”, a reference to the Soham 10-year-olds brutally murdered by school caretaker Ian Huntley in 2002.

During “lurid and disgusting” discussions, they made chilling references to the Soham murders on a free website.

Passing indeterminate sentences for public protection, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC described the paedophiles’ behaviour as “depraved, obsessive and distressing”.

He ordered them to register as sex offenders for life and undergo a sex offenders’ treatment programme in prison, banning them from accessing pornography on the internet and working or mixing with children.

Jurors heard how the men, who had never met, came across each other in an incest chatroom where film make-up artist Alan Hedgcock, 41, of River Way, Twickenham, told Beavan he wanted to abuse the 13 and 14-year-old girls.

From left to right – Mayers, Hedgcock & Beavan

Greeting card salesman Beavan said he was interested in the plan, which involved pouncing on the girls as they walked through woods to school. Robert Mayers, 42, of Brighton Street, Warrington, was later recruited via the internet.

All three were found guilty of conspiracy to rape and admitted various charges including 50 sample counts of distributing, making and possessing thousands of indecent images of children.

The trio were arrested after Beavan walked into Bournemouth police station in January last year, claiming he was just a “vigilante” gathering evidence against paedophiles.

Imposing an 11-year tariff for Beavan and eight-year tariffs for his co-defendants, Judge Rivlin said the chatroom logs were “most lurid and disgusting”.

He added: “You were drooling over the prospect of taking these children into the woods and raping them. These logs were further spiced by the swapping of pornographic images of young children.”

He told Beavan, who was found with more than 4,300 indecent pictures of children stored on his computer, that he had carried out a “deeply disturbing array of offences”.

“Your mind was in turmoil and you went to Bournemouth police station where you told the officers you had been downloading pornographic pictures of children,” he said.

“They investigated your computer and discovered the discussions you had with your co-defendants. Your behaviour was continuing and truly dreadful.”

Det Ch Insp Ivor Graham, head of Dorset police‘s child protection unit, said: “We are pleased to have been involved at the very beginning of this investigation.

“Our specialist sex offenders’ unit and high-tech crime unit officers quickly realised that there were very serious offences in the Metropolitan police area.”

DC Dave Adams from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Command said: “These three men took a step beyond fantasy and actually identified the children they would target, the location where they would approach them and what exactly they planned to do to them.

“It is appalling to consider the potential repercussions. This is a really significant investigation because, for the first time, internet chatlogs have been used to prove a conspiracy to rape a child. The case should act as a stark warning that the internet is not a hiding place to plan and participate in criminal acts.”

Residents in Shackleton Square, Bransgore – a quiet quadrangle originally built as married quarters for the nearby Sopley RAF camp – said they believed Beavan had lived there in a rented house.

“It is a fairly close-knit community and we keep an eye on children playing on the green,” said Patricia Stanley. “I’d never heard of this man until a friend said she had seen his name in the paper.”

November 2007

Rape plot convictions are quashed

Three men accused of using an internet chatroom to hatch a plot to rape two young sisters have had their convictions overturned.

David Dyer, 43, of Hampshire, Alan Hedgecock, 42, of Twickenham, and Robert Mayers, 43, of Warrington, had been given indeterminate jail terms.

The Court of Appeal decided the men’s online exchanges were as indicative of fantasy as actual intent to rape.

The three remain in prison on charges of downloading child pornography.

They were originally given indeterminate terms with Dyer, also known as David Beavan, of Shackleton Square, Bransgore, Hampshire, ordered to serve at least 11 years.

Hedgecock, of River Way, Twickenham, south-west London and Mayers, of Brighton Street, Warrington, were given eight-year tariffs.

Judges at the Court of Appeal said the case against the men should never have been put to a jury because there was “no case to answer”.

The men’s conversations were plainly “so motivated by sexual lust that it cannot be said that reality was any more probable than fantasy”, the hearing was told.

At their trial in November 2006, Southwark Crown Court heard the men made “chilling references to the Soham murders” on a free website, by referring to doing “a Holly and Jess”.

Jurors heard how the men, who had never met, came across each other in a chatroom where Hedgecock told Dyer he wanted to abuse two sisters, aged 13 and 14.

Dyer said he was interested in the plan, which involved pouncing on them as they walked through woods to school, and Mayers was later recruited via the internet.

The men were arrested after Dyer walked into Bournemouth police station and told officers about the plan.

He claimed in court he was a vigilante gathering evidence.