30 June 2010

Paedophile described as ‘every parent’s nightmare’ jailed indefinitely

Gareth Hulme, 25, a security guard from Manchester, admitted to string of sex offences including rape of 10-year-old boy

A predatory paedophile described by a judge as “every parent’s nightmare” was jailed indefinitely today after he admitted a string of offences.

When Gareth Hulme, 25, a security guard from Manchester, was arrested he led the police to an international paedophile ring in Luxembourg, Spain and Ireland.

Manchester crown court heard how Hulme raped a 10-year-old boy on consecutive days last year after he lured him away from his parents at a festival in Cheshire, where he had been working, on the pretext of walking a dog. He photographed the abuse on his mobile phone, Manchester crown court heard.

Judge Anthony Gee, QC, said: “Every right-thinking person who hears the facts of this appalling case will feel horror, disgust and revulsion. I have no doubt that you are a dangerous person – a sexual predator and paedophile who regards young boys as his prey to satisfy his deviant sexual urges.”

Hulme first came to the attention of police in January last year. During an online MSN conversation he told of his interest in “raping younger lads” and his sadistic desire to cause pain to children through sex. This was passed on to police but he was declared to be low risk and the police said there was not enough evidence to proceed with the inquiry.

He went on to rape the 10-year-old, but police said his crimes could not have been prevented.

Judge Gee said: “Police discovered an email between you and other paedophiles in which you disclose your interest in raping young boys and causing pain through sexual activity. Those views will shock and horrify every parent and you are every parent’s nightmare.”

The court heard that Hulme would not be considered for parole for at least six years and 105 days, but the judge said it may be many more years before he is considered safe enough to be released.

He was jailed indefinitely at the court after he pleaded guilty to 24 offences including two rapes, taking an indecent photo, making and distributing images, attempting to arrange child sex, meeting with a child following grooming and sexual activity with a child. He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon.

When police arrested Hulme last June, and examined his computer it led them to break a paedophile ring with links in Luxembourg, Spain and Ireland.

Detectives from 23 forces in the UK have so far made 25 arrests, including the former deputy head of a high school in Manchester. During a raid of his home following his arrest, police found encrypted MSN messages on his computer and images and video of child abuse that he shared with men he had met on websites.

In a victim impact statement the parents of the boy who was raped said the abuse had had “a profound effect” on their son, adding they feared he would never be the same.

The boy did not tell them of his ordeal and they first learned of what had happened when police contacted them. They were in court to watch him being sentenced.

The boy’s mother, in the victim impact statement, told the court that her “happy, friendly, outgoing” son had become quiet and withdrawn, refuses to do PE at school because he has to take his clothes off. He now sometimes communicates using charts with sad or smiling faces so he can indicate his mood.

“We don’t know if he will ever be the same again,” she added.

Hulme lurked in internet chatrooms to groom other victims, including a 15-year-old boy. At the time of his arrest, he was also attempting to arrange a meeting with a friend to have sex with a nine-year-old.

Detective Constable Jordan McGowan, from Greater Manchester police, said: “What Hulme did to these boys was horrific and has led to two families dealing with issues that nobody should ever have to face. Cruelly, he had such a strong psychological hold over his victims that they were too scared to come forward.”