May 2011

‘Committed’ paedophile jailed indefinitely for downloading child porn in public library one day after he was let out of prison

A ‘committed’ paedophile who began downloading 250,000 child porn images from public library computers a day after being released from prison was today jailed indefinitely.

Gary Salt, 49, had previously been imprisoned for 12 years in 1998 for serious sex assaults against four young children.

He went on to post images of the sickening attacks he captured on video to fellow members of The Wonderland Club – an international online paedophile ring which he helped expose.

Salt was released eight years into his sentence on licence but was recalled into custody in November 2006 after he contacted fellow sex offenders.

He was released again on April 16, 2010 but just one day later put into place a new scheme to pass indecent images to paedophiles in another worldwide online sharing network.

Salt, who appeared at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court under his new name of Anthony Andrews, joined libraries in Manchester and Trafford as he systematically transferred stills and movies on to four pen drives.

One of the libraries where he was particularly prolific was at Old Trafford where the computers were positioned next to children’s reading areas.

His offences were finally uncovered in December last year when a member of the public glanced across at the images and realised he was ‘sat next to a monster’.

Among the items recovered from the pen drives were the images he took himself which led to his conviction in 1998.

Salt, formerly of Stockport, Greater Manchester, admitted at an earlier hearing to 25 sexual offences including making, possessing and distributing indecent images.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Lakin told him: ‘You are clearly a committed and very active paedophile who is not willing or able to address your distorted behaviour. What you did was well planned and well thought out.

You are clearly very aware forensically and you are also highly computer literate. All of that you employed to your advantage.’

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 32 months in jail, less five months already spent in custody, but warned he would not be released until he was deemed to no longer pose a serious risk to public safety.

Following his 1998 conviction he gave evidence that led to the conviction of 150 offenders in the Wonderland group which exchanged thousands of pictures and videos of youngsters suffering sexual abuse.

Salt was seen as a senior operator of Wonderland because he posted his own material on the network which was safeguarded with sophisticated encrypted codes.
But he turned witness for the Crown to give evidence against fellow members.

Michael Lavery, prosecuting, said the defendant was initially released from jail in April 2006 on licence but was recalled seven months later when evidence emerged he had purchased IT magazines and had received discs in the post from a convicted sex offender.

In January 2008 a database of sex offenders was found in his cell along with literature outlining sexual encounters with children.

Mr Lavery added: ‘There was also evidence that he had been in touch with another prisoner to set up another paedophile ring on release’.

More documents were later found in his cell regarding recruitment of EU citizens in India and the cost of living in that country.

The prosecutor said he went on to change his name by deed poll to Anthony Alexander Andrews on his release last year.

Salt frequently used the libraries at Shrewsbury Street in Old Trafford and in Hulme.

‘Old Trafford is a community library  with a children’s section near to the computers,’ Mr Lavery said. ‘There is no suggestion that he approached any children but the dangers were apparent.’

On December 11, a man sat next to Salt at the Old Trafford library and became aware of a pornographic image of an adult and a young child on the defendant’s terminal.

Mr Lavery said: ‘The image was only on the screen for a second but he could see it was one of many that the defendant had magnified.

‘He could see that the male was part of a community on screen and that he was uploading images as part of an encrypting process.

‘He thought that, in his words, he was sat next to a monster.’

Salt was now a member of another online paedophile ring called Ranchi and went by the self-styled title of ‘Lord Oberon’.

‘He stated he had been sent to prison as part of the Wonderland ”bust,” said Mr Lavery.

‘It is clear he has uploaded material in respect of Level 4 images in an attempt to be distributed by the Ranchi group.’

Ranchi was a forum with a number of stated aims including exchanging items as part of a heavily encrypted underground network, advising on how to deal with police investigations and that they viewed paedophilia as not a crime but a sexual orientation, the court heard,