January 2012

Paedophile who abused children in his joke shop jailed

A joke shop owner who sexually abused three children has been locked up for public protection after a court heard he had shown no remorse.

Police have described David Slater “as a dangerous committed paedophile.”

Officers had discovered his offences against two of the youngsters after seizing computer equipment from his shop and home following information he had been downloading indecent images from the internet.

Examination revealed he had nearly 10,000 pictures and movies of children, including some showing abuse on the boy and girl when they were visiting his shop, the Loony Bin in Armley, Leeds.

He also filmed himself on other occasions, one movie showing a girl who could not be identified.

Richard Clews, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday that following publicity about Slater being charged, another offence came to light when it was revealed he had sexually touched a girl while babysitting her several years ago. Because of his white beard she had called him Santa Claus. “Of course he was very far indeed from the reality,” he said.

Slater, 60, of Edinburgh Place, Armley, Leeds, was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection after admitting three charges of sexual assault, one of attempted assault, two of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity , 17 of making or taking indecent photographs and possessing 9,974 others.

Ordering him to serve a minimum of five years minus his time on remand, Judge Roger Ibbotson said he was satisfied there was a significant breach of trust involved and that he posed a danger in the future. “You have shown no remorse or that you even begin to understand the effect of your conduct on these three children.”

He was ordered to register as a sex offender for life and barred from working with children.

Mr Clews told the court it was on March 11 last year that police seized the computer equipment and their analysis revealed his involvement with two children.

Inquiries revealed his “grooming” of the boy who liked to go to the shop and help him out on occasions with his parent’s permission after they had all first visited in 2009, while the girl involved had visited on fewer occasions.

Stephen Smithson, for Slater, said he had lost everything as a result including his home, business and car and, if ever he left prison, would have nothing.

After the case DC Pam Gillings, of West Yorkshire Police abusive images unit, said: “This sentence reflects the very serious nature of the offences committed by a dangerous and committed paedophile who used his position in the community to gain access to vulnerable children to abuse them for his own sexual gratification.”