Appeal judges are forced to REDUCE jail sentence of ‘dangerous’ paedophile to just 18 months
Judges have expressed ‘great concern’ after being forced to overturn the indefinite sentence imposed on a dangerous paedophile who will now serve just 18 months behind bars.
Simon Crisp twice tried to convince a 15-year-old boy to perform a sex act online and shared sickening images of children with other perverts, London’s Appeal Court heard.
He was jailed indefinitely for public protection – which is almost identical to a life sentence – at Preston Crown Court in March, after computer equipment was seized by police from his home in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
The 36-year-old admitted three counts of trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, six of making, nine of distributing and five of possessing indecent images of children, and one of having an extreme pornographic image.
But his open-ended sentence has now been quashed at London’s Criminal Appeal Court and replaced with a conventional jail term of three years.
Judges said that, while they were deeply anxious about the outcome, the law on indeterminate sentences laid down by Parliament left them with ‘no alternative’ but to quash Crisp’s IPP.
The decision means that, instead of remaining behind bars until the Parole Board concludes it is safe to release him, Crisp will now be automatically released after serving half of the three-year term.
Judge Anthony Morris QC, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Treacy, said a sexual offences prevention order handed to Crisp should be ‘vigorously enforced’ by the probation service to ensure he doesn’t re-offend after his release.
The judge told the court Crisp’s computer equipment, including a laptop, webcam and four discs, were seized from his home in September last year.
Before the equipment was analysed, he admitted to police he had downloaded pornographic images of children and had spoken to other paedophiles on Skype – but claimed he had no sexual interest in children.
Analysis of the machine revealed over 200 indecent images of children – including five in the most obscene category – and it was discovered these had been sent to other people via the internet.
Crisp had also tried to groom a 15-year-old boy via a chat website on two separate occasions, but the victim had ended the conversation before any sexual activity took place.
A probation report concluded Crisp was a danger to the public and there was a real threat that his ‘fantasies’ about children would result in him reoffending.
The court heard he had a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a three-year-old 20 years earlier, when he was aged 15.
Sentencing him, the crown court judge said a five-year sentence would have been appropriate for the offences, but that he was ‘dangerous’ and should therefore be locked up indefinitely.
Crisp’s lawyers argued the five-year ‘notional term’ was too long, saying the crown court judge didn’t take enough account of the overall sentence or the level of his offending.
Allowing the appeal, Judge Morris agreed the term was ‘excessive’ and that the IPP must be quashed – as indefinite sentences can only be imposed where the offences would justify a conventional sentence of at least four years.
He told the court: ‘We consider that the judge’s finding of dangerousness was fully justified on the evidence before him.
‘But, by reason of this court’s decision to reduce the notional determinate term, a sentence of imprisonment for public protection was not available.
‘We have great concern as to the outcome. But, as Parliament has laid down that the notional term must be at least four years for an indeterminate sentence to be imposed, we have no alternative but to quash the IPP.’
Jailed for abuse images
A “MONSTER” who talked about snatching a youngster off the street and distributed images of child abuse has been jailed indefinitely.
Preston Crown Court heard depraved Simon Crisp also tried to get a boy to perform a sex act over a webcam.
The 35-year old, of Laurel Avenue, Fleetwood, had pleaded guilty to a total of 23 charges – nine of distributing indecent photographs of children, six of making indecent images, five of possessing indecent images, one of having extreme pornography and two of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
Police today described his behaviour as “monstrous” while the judge in the case said he presented a “very real risk” of re-offending.
When police seized Crisp’s laptop and CDs from his home in September they found indecent images of children which he had also distributed.
He had four extreme images and another involving an eight-year-old girl.
Crisp, who indecently assaulted a three-year-old girl in 1992, admitted having downloaded indecent films of children over three months and having spoken with others over the internet about sexual matters, but said they had been adults.
But the court heard Crisp had asked someone who claimed to be a 15-year-old boy to perform a sex act while he watched over a webcam.
He also talked to someone else about sexual abuse he claimed to have carried out.
In another conversation, a man spoke to him about finding a young boy. Crisp allegedly replied: “It would be fun to take one from the street.”
Crisp told police talk of snatching a child was just “fantasy” and he had made comments to try to impress.
Paul Robinson, defending, said: “He is socially, emotionally and educationally disadvantaged. He is a fantasist.”
Judge Stuart Baker told Crisp: “You told the probation officer you needed to see films which became increasingly violent or humiliating or degrading to children.”
Crisp will be on the sex offenders register indefinitely, banned from working with children and subject to a sexual offences prevention order. The judge ordered he serve a minimum of two years and 46 days in jail before he canapply for possible parole. He will only be released when no longer considered a danger.
Det Con Steve Montgomery, Fleetwood CID, said: “Crisp’s behaviour has been monstrous – fortunately his attempts to prey on youngsters online were unsuccessful, but his desire to share sickening images and conversations with other like minded people led to the distribution of some disturbing material.”