May 2005

Court order for paedophile tutor

Gavin Seagers (pictured), aged 34, was one of eight British men arrested when detectives busted international paedophile cyber-porn ring The Wonderland Club.

The sting in 1998 was the largest international police operation ever and led to 107 arrests in 12 countries and the seizure of 750,000 images of 1,200 children.

Seagers, a former youth leader at Dartford Sea Cadets, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute indecent images of children.

He was sentenced to two years in prison and freed after one.

Seagers was placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

Last month, journalists duped Seagers, a computer consultant, into meeting reporters at a flat in Dartford.

Seagers believed he would be tutoring a young boy, after he advertised his services online.

He admitted he should not be left alone in a room with a child.

Seagers denied ever abusing a youngster but said he could not help fantasising about it.

Following the article’s publication, Kent police applied to Dartford Magistrates’ Court for an interim order, which was granted on May 11.

Seagers, who lives in Swanscombe, was banned from seeking and accepting work, including tutoring, with children under the age of 16.

Deputy council leader Councillor Jeremy Kite said: “It is scandalous this loophole exists.

“I don’t think he received a significant enough sentence or was given the right order when he was first convicted.

Febuary 2001

How Spank Daddy’ almost got away

DETECTIVES almost pulled the plug on an international investigation into internet child pornography because one key suspect was involved with Dartford Sea Cadets.

Gavin Seagers, aged 29, a computer consultant from Burnham Crescent, Dartford, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute indecent images of children.

He was sentenced to two years in prison, and placed on the sex offenders register for seven years.

Seagers, nick-named Spank Daddy, was one of seven men at Kingston Crown Court who admitted being part of The Wonderland Club, which distributed tens of thousands of indecent images of children.

But the operation to catch men involved in the group, which spanned three continents, was almost blown when officers from the National Crime Squad discovered Seagers was a youth leader at Dartford Sea Cadets.

They feared he may have been abusing youngsters in his charge.

One officer said: “We were all concerned about what the course of action should be.

“We tailed him to make sure he never left the Sea Cadet headquarters with a child.”

More than 100 men are believed to have been part of The Wonderland Club which insisted on “payment” of 10,000 indecent pictures of children before people could join.

Police, charities and social service workers are still trying to trace the children featured in thousands of images uncovered by the operation.

One child to be positively identified so far is an 11-year-old boy from Portugal who went missing seven years ago.

He has never been found.

Pictures of the Portuguese boy were found on Seager’s computer along with thousands of images of children being sexually abused.

And officers described how Seagers fantasised about kidnapping, torturing and raping children while chatting on the internet.

Police have said they do not believe any of the indecent pictures of youngsters are of Dartford Sea Cadets.

Seagers quit as a sea cadet leader in 1998, immediately after his arrest.

A spokesman for the organisation said it checks all adults who will be working with children.

Gavin Seagers, 29, nicknamed “Hopeful”, a computer consultant and Sea Cadets youth leader, from Dartford, Kent, had potentially critical access to children.

Police discovered Seagers, then a computer technician, had long internet conversations with Baldock and spoke of abducting, raping and torturing children.

In May 1998 police tailed Seagers to a hut in the town and discovered he was volunteer youth leader attached to the local Sea Cadets headquarters in Dartford.

Police followed him constantly but did not arrest him until they were able to swoop on the entire ring.

Seagers managed to use his computer literacy to make it very difficult for detectives to get access to the paedophilic images in the site.

When they eventually encrypted the site, they discovered 17,000 images of children.

Seagers pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity to the charges.

The Daily mirror undercover interview

The Mirror duped the pervert into calling at a flat where he believed he was going to teach a boy. Horrifyingly, he admitted he was still sexually interested in youngsters – and vowed to continue tutoring.

He said: “You can’t turn it off. A heterosexual man thinks about women, and paedophiles think about children. I can’t change that.

“I accept I shouldn’t be in a room on my own with a child. That’s why I’ve never abused one. If you think I’m the worst paedophile in the country you’re wrong.” Seagers was a member of the worldwide Wonderland Club which swapped thousands of explicit images of children and babies over the web.

Using the name Spank Daddy, he bragged about his fantasies of abducting, raping and killing children.

But though he is on the sex offenders register there is NOTHING to stop him gaining access to children as a private tutor, football coach or babysitter. Nor does he have to reveal his conviction.

Yesterday as campaigners called for a change in the law, Labour MP Dan Norris said: “Well done the Mirror. This alarming investigation shows there are still loopholes that need to be plugged to ensure our children are safe.”

We arranged for the former Sea Cadet youth worker to arrive at an empty flat hired in Dartford, Kent. Our investigator invited him up. The following conversation took place:

MIRROR: Gavin Seagers, you were convicted of downloading child porn in 2001. Why have you come to give private tuition to child of 11?

SEAGERS: Well, I didn’t know he was here. Obviously I haven’t come for that (looking into the empty flat).

M: We have you on tape with full knowledge that the child is 11 and an email saying you agreed to tutor him. How do you think the mother of the child will feel?

S: How could I molest a child with a mum here?

M: Quite easily if the mum is in the kitchen or decides to go out…you’re on the sex offenders register?

S: Yeah.

M: You’ve put yourself in a position of trust with that child and the child’s mother, and that’s wrong.

S: Yes, but I’ve never molested a child and I don’t intend to do so.

M: You’ve fantasised about raping, abducting and abusing children?

S: I’ve not actually done it.

M: So you admit you’re a paedophile?

S: Yes. You can’t turn it off.

M: You’ve admitted you can’t change your spots, yet here you are to give private tuition to an 11-year-old.

S: Yeah, but I’ve never abused a child. How would anyone know about my past unless someone told them?

M: Any right-minded individual would not put themselves in a one-to-one situation with a child knowing they have your track-record.

S: I wouldn’t put myself in a situation where I could abuse a child.

M: There’s always going to be a scenario where you are left alone with a child…after this experience will you continue to tutor children?

S: I will, tutoring is only a small part of what I do. But it’s work and I’m not going to turn down work.

M: Do you still have pornographic images of children at home?

S: Of course I don’t, that’s illegal.

M: Do you think you are over the fantasies about children?

S: It’s quite a difficult one to answer. A heterosexual man thinks about women and paedophiles think about children. I can’t change that.

I’ve been on a waiting list for treatment for two years. There aren’t places to treat people like me.

M: You know you shouldn’t be in the private presence of a child?

S: You mean I can’t go into a shopping centre because there’ll be children there? I’m not minimising the fact that abusing children is wrong. It’s just not something I’ve done.

M: Yet. Do you accept you shouldn’t be allowed near children?

S: What I do accept is that I shouldn’t be in a room on my own with a child. I realise that.

I’ve never abused a child. I’m not saying I haven’t fantasised about it. But there’s a huge difference between fantasy and reality if you look at the number of adult males who’ve had rape fantasies and the number who have actually gone on to rape.

M: There isn’t much difference because those pictures you looked at weren’t cartoons. They were real children being abused.

S: The people who took photos of those children took them for their own sexual pleasure.

M: And also for your sexual pleasure. Doesn’t that mean that you also contributed to their abuse?

S: I suppose I have some responsibility. M: Gavin, go home. S: Thanks for ruining my life. It’s something like this that will make me abuse children in 10 years time.

In an email from his home in Swanscombe, Kent – two roads away from two primary schools – Seagers had told us: “If you let me know how old your son is I’d be better able to suggest something suitable.”

He offered us a pounds 10 discount on his normal hourly fee of pounds 35 if we considered regular sessions. Later he confirmed he had done tutorials with children before.