October 2014

Highly dangerous paedophile loses appeal against life sentence

George Richards aka Luke Sadowski

A paedophile who tried a snatch a schoolgirl off the street at gunpoint has lost his appeal against a life sentence.

George Richards, previously known as Luke Sadowski, cooked up a bizarre and chilling plan to abduct a child in Ware.

The pervert had transformed his flat into a dungeon, ready to receive his victim.

His first attempt to snatch a 10-year-old girl off a footbridge on her way to school was thwarted by an off-duty police officer, London’s Appeal Court heard.

The officer spotted Richards as he took hold of the girl, and chased him from the scene, with the girl’s mother also only yards away..

Undaunted, Richards set about acquiring weapons to help subdue his next victim, travelling to London to buy an imitation pistol.

He struck again in May last year, plucking a five-year-old girl off her mother’s doorstep before fleeing when confronted by the angry parent.

Richards, of Gladstone Road, Ware, was cornered soon after by police, despite his attempts to ward them off with the imitation gun.

Judge Michael Stokes QC, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice King, said the facts of Richards’ crimes made for “disturbing and chilling” reading.

He had rightly been classified as an “extremely dangerous individual” from whom the public – and young girls in particular – needed protection.

And he concluded: “The quite dreadful and chilling circumstances of the case – and the facts of his convictions – plainly justified imposing a life sentence.

“Indeed, it was absolutely necessary to impose such a sentence.”

The 30-year-old, originally from Canterbury, already had a conviction dating back 11 years for trying to “buy” a child over the internet for sex, a plot which was foiled by the FBI.

The onetime student at Canterbury Christ Church University was caged for life at St Albans Crown Court in March last year.

He admitted two counts of child abduction, using an imitation firearm and possessing a knife.

March 2014

George Richards, formerly Stortford schoolboy Luke Sadowski, jailed for life for child abduction

A PAEDOPHILE who used to live and go to school in Bishop’s Stortford was jailed for life this afternoon (Friday) after a judge heard that he had prepared his flat to hold children.

Ex-trainee primary school teacher George Richards, 29 – formerly known as Luke Sadowski – was told at St Albans Crown Court he must serve a minimum of seven years.

Richards – who 11 years ago was caught in an FBI sting that targeted paedophiles – was armed with a kitchen knife, an imitation gun, tape and string when he picked up a five-year-old girl on the doorstep of her home in Ware on September 16 last year.

Four days earlier, he had snatched a 10-year-old as she made her way to school in the town, but let her go when an off-duty police officer shouted at him.

After his arrest, police found the windows and skylight in Richards’ flat were blacked out and bolts had been placed on internal doors at a height that children could not reach.

Richards, of Gladstone Road, Ware, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abduction as well as making use of an imitation firearm and possessing a bladed article.

The girls’ families said after the hearing that now that Richards – who attended Hockerill Anglo-European College in Stortford and lived at Thorley Park – had been sentenced they hoped finally to move on with their lives.

In a joint statement, they said: “As you can imagine, we have all been through an extremely difficult and traumatic time. A stranger came into our lives through no fault of our own, turned them upside-down and changed them forever.

“This is not something we ever expected to happen to our families or would ever want to happen to any other families. The man who did this is dangerous and, whilst knowing he is now in prison, may help us in some way to rebuild our lives.

“We have also been sentenced to living with these awful memories forever.

“We have been supported by the police throughout, they have been truly excellent. We are so grateful to all those who have been involved and would like to thank each and every one.”

After his arrest, police found the windows and skylight in Richards’ flat were blacked out and bolts had been placed on internal doors at a height that children could not reach.

In 2003, as Luke Sadowski, he had been jailed at the Old Bailey for three years for attempting to incite another to procure a girl aged nine or 10 for sex.

At that time he was training to be a primary school teacher in Canterbury, Kent. He arranged to pay £250 to undercover FBI officers to buy a child from Eastern Europe. He agreed to meet the ‘child’ at a London hotel, where his arrest was filmed. He arrived armed with a replica gun, a cuddly toy and a condom.

In his room at Canterbury university police found a locked safe containing handcuffs, leg shackles, a roll of tape, knife, police baton and bullets for his imitation Glock 19 handgun.

Officers also found a newspaper clipping of murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler. The area around her genitalia had been cut out and Richards had masturbated into it. There were other articles about police paedophile operations.

Bespectacled Richards was back in court today having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Wayne Cleaver, prosecuting, said that at 8.30am on September 12 last year, a 10-year-old girl was on a footbridge in Ware on her way to school when Richards picked her up and swung her round.

He took her back towards a car park, holding her for around five seconds, before Pearl Devonshire, an off-duty police officer, shouted at him. Richards fled.

Over that weekend he went to London and bought an imitation Glock 19 handgun.

Then at 8.30am the following Monday he went to a cul de sac in Ware as a woman was preparing to take her children to school. As the mother went back into her hallway, Richards grabbed her five-year-old daughter, lifting her up in a bearhug.

He ran away and police were called. The mother was driven around the area and spotted Richards jogging in the street. Officers got out and approached him and he produced the gun. He held it up and warned them: “Don’t come near.”

Mr Cleaver said the officers chased and arrested Richards. A silver-handled kitchen knife was taped to his body. The gun had been dumped in a garden. Also on him were tape and two lengths of white string.

Dante Leccacorvi, defending, said that Richards had not intended to abduct the children.

He said; “He was hoping to demonstrate he was not a danger to children. He was concerned he was being followed and kept under police surveillance. He was trying to goad the police.”

Judge John Plumstead jailed him for life. He passed a minimum term of seven years before he can apply for parole, but told him: “You are going to prison for life. You are never going to be released unless the parole board are satisfied it is safe to do so.

“I am satisfied these were planned abductions. You had prepared your flat in such a way for the imprisonment of children.

“Your past shows you are consumed with a sexual obsession for pre-pubescent children. I am perfectly sure you were intent on abducting and sexually assaulting, or worse, helpless children, but you lost your nerve.

“The level of danger you represent to the public is enormous.”

Later, Chief Inspector Gerry McDonald, who is in charge of policing in East Herts, said: “I am pleased with the sentencing today and the fact that this very dangerous man is off our streets.

“Understandably, the events on those days have had a significant impact on the victims and their families. However, I hope it is of some comfort to them knowing that the man who did this is now serving a significant prison term.

“I would like to thank the victims and their families for their courage and support throughout this extremely difficult time.

“I would once again like to reassure the community that reports of this nature are taken extremely seriously from the initial stages.

“In this case officers were quickly deployed to the area and a significant amount of work went on in the background as part of the investigation.

“The circumstances surrounding the arrest also highlight the dangers police officers face. Those involved did not know that the weapon was an imitation and bravely put their lives at risk to ensure this man was detained. I would like to thank all those officers involved in this operation for their hard work and determination.”

Adrian Foster, chief Crown prosecutor in the Thames and Chiltern area, said: “These were despicable crimes against defenceless young girls which could have had far worse consequences. It is impossible to imagine a more vulnerable victim.

“We have a duty to protect the vulnerable members of our society. The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] takes the criminal mistreatment of vulnerable people extremely seriously and built a strong case to present the court with the full extent of the offending.

“The guilty plea of Richards reflected the strength of the prosecution case against him and meant that the young victims and witnesses did not have to endure the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

“We have worked closely with Herts Constabulary since this investigation was launched and, as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for the victims and their families.

“We hope that the conviction and sentence will in some way help them come to terms with these horrifying events with the knowledge that the person that subjected these children and police officers to this terrible ordeal has been brought to justice.

“George Richards has today been sentenced to life with a minimum term of seven years and can no longer prey upon further children. However, no matter how long the prison sentence is, we acknowledge that nothing can make up for what the victims and their families have been through.

“Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

January 2014

Criminal past of child abductor George Richards, formerly Luke Sadowski, revealed

Sadowski pictured above in 2003

THIS is not the first time George Richards has committed an offence involving a child.

In August 2003, Richards – then known as Luke Sadowski – pleaded guilty to attempting to incite another to procure a girl aged nine or 10 for sex after trying to buy a child over the internet and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence.

He has admitted his latest crime at St Albans Crown Court earlier today (Thursday January 23), we can reveal the truth behind his sick and twisted past.

Then just 19, Richards was jailed for three years by Southwark Crown Court after being nailed by an FBI sting attempting to trap paedophiles.

At his sentencing, the court heard the teenager – who had been studying at Canterbury University with the ambition of becoming a primary school teacher – had spent months arranging a £250 deal with the detectives to buy an eastern European child.

Unaware he was being set up, Richards agreed to meet the child at a London hotel where his arrest was filmed – arriving armed with a replica gun, a cuddly toy and a condom.

At the same time, Met police raided his university room and found a locked safe full of handcuffs, leg shackles, a roll of tape, knife, police baton, and bullets for his imitation Glock handgun – the same as the one used in his most recent appalling plot.

Officers also found a newspaper clipping of murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler over which Richards had masturbated, along with articles about police paedophile operations.

And they uncovered a letter to his family reading: “If you are reading this, it means I have not returned from my holiday. I am sorry. I love my family and my mother. Please forgive me. Luke. PS Please remember me.”

At the time, Richards’ defence team claimed he had trouble making friends and had been “teased and bullied at school”.

Defending him, Emma Edham said he realised what he had done was “a disgusting, stupid, immature experiment.”

But despite admitting the crimes, Richards was not made to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register as his offence was not covered by its provisions.
Sentencing him, Judge Gerald Gordon warned the teenager he would be regarded as “extremely dangerous” by any court if he committed further offences of a sexual nature.

He was then handed two 18-month sentences to run consecutively, one for each offences.

September 2013

Convicted paedophile charged with attempted child abduction in Ware

A convicted paedophile has been charged with two counts of child abduction today (September 17) after two incidents in five days in Ware.

Luke Sadowski, 29, from Gladstone Road, Ware has also been charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, possession of an imitation firearm and possession of a bladed article.

The first alleged attempted child abduction is alleged to have occurred on Priory Bridge on Thursday morning (September 12), the second incident is alleged to have occurred yesterday (September 16) in Aldwyke Rise.

He has been remanded in custody to appear before Hatfield Remand Court today.

In 2003 “Trainee teacher” Sadowski was jailed for three years for trying to procure a nine-year-old girl for sex over the internet. During that trial he also admitted attempting to incite another to procure a child under 16 and possessing an imitation gun. When his student accommodation was searched police discovered a safe containing leg shackles, handcuffs, an extending police baton, a kitchen knife and a roll of tape

Also in 2003, he was savagely beaten behind bars. Inmates pounced on Sadowski, then 19 years old, in the showers at a young offenders institute.  They punched him to the floor then repeatedly kicked him in the head before staff dragged them away. 

Sadowski was taken to hospital where he needed dozens of stitches for huge gashes across his face. He also had two black eyes and severe cuts to the inside of his mouth.

August 2003

Student jailed after child sex sting

A student who planned to become a teacher has been jailed for three years for trying to procure a nine-year-old girl for sex over the internet.

Luke Sadowski, 19, admitted attempting to incite another to procure a child under 16 and possessing an imitation gun.

He was sentenced to 18 months for each offence, with the sentences to run consecutively.

Sadowski, from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, was arrested in an undercover operation following a tip-off from police in the United States, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Under current legislation, he could only receive a maximum of two years for trying to procure a child and will not have to go on the sex offenders’ register.

The law is now being changed and anyone charged with a similar offence in a year’s time could face a maximum of 14 years.

Lisa Wilding, prosecuting, told the court Sadowski used internet chat rooms in an attempt to find a child victim.

 

But the website he used was set up by US law enforcement agents to trap paedophiles.

When Sadowski, who has already served 10 months in custody, continued asking to be introduced to a young girl, they alerted Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit.

Using the name Ben Smith on the internet, Sadowski was told to get in touch with the site’s UK agents, who were in reality members of Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit 

Undercover operation

Referring to the nine-year-old he thought he was going to meet, he told one officer: “I am not going to mistreat her, not too much, if you know what I mean.”

The undercover officers met him at London’s Victoria station and took him in a cab equipped with video recording equipment to a hotel where he was arrested.

In addition to the gun, he also had on him a teddy bear and a condom.

The court heard Sadowski had set up a memorial site on his computer for murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne and was going to do one for the Soham schoolgirls.

Sadowski was about to begin a foundation course at Canterbury Christ Church University College, which would have allowed him to pursue a degree in primary school education.

Judge Gordon told Sadowski there were a number of features in the case which “give rise to real serious concern about the danger you may pose to women.”

‘Fantasy and bravado’

He had read psychiatric and probation reports which also indicated “elements of fantasy and bravado”.

Emma Edham, defending, said Sadowski had behaved in a “stupid, frightening and disgusting way”, but “it was no more than a boy’s stupid experimentation”.

NSPCC policy advisor Christine Atkinson said in a statement: “We welcomed the clearer offences and tougher sentences for sex offenders announced in the Queen’s Speech last November.

“It is a priority that the proposed legislation is implemented as soon as possible to protect children.”

Two weeks before his arrest he had been due to spend a week working at a primary school to gain work experience, but this was cancelled by the school after they were contacted by police. 

When his student accommodation was searched police discovered a safe containing leg shackles, handcuffs, an extending police baton, a kitchen knife and a roll of tape, Miss Wilding told the court.

They also found several newspaper articles about paedophiles, child abductions and murders.

Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Sarti, of the Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit, said: “By conducting this operation we have identified and brought to justice a young man who posed a considerable danger to children.

“The contents of Sadowski’s safe show what can only be described as sadistic implements of restraint, apparently assembled within days of his new found freedom and financial liberty at college

“Sadowski intended to study to become a primary school teacher and we can only be grateful that he was caught well in advance of this becoming possible.

“The successful prosecution of Sadowski shows that police are prepared to do all it takes to protect children from those who want to abuse them”.