June 2013

Social networking blamed after girl is abused by two perverts


Paedophile Gary Dickinson, 31, (left) has been jailed for six years at Teesside Crown Court along with his accomplice James Walker, 30, (right) who was jailed for three years and four months

  • Child raped five times and was so traumatised another pervert attacked her

  • Gary Dickinson jailed for 6 years and James Walker 3 years and 4 months

  • They had targeted the 13-year-old on the Bebo social network

  • Judge John Walford says case shows need for increased online controls

  • ‘This case is another illustration of the dangers of the internet’ he said

A JUDGE warned of the dangers posed by the internet after a vulnerable schoolgirl was groomed and abused by two paedophiles who she met separately on a social media website.

The victim was so traumatised after being repeatedly raped by a 31-year-old man that she willingly submitted when another pervert approached her via the internet.

The two men are behind bars today but the disturbing case has once again called into question the use of social networking sites for grooming children.

Judge John Walford said the case – involving a married man, a carer and the teenage victim – illustrated the dangers of the internet, as calls grew for greater restrictions.

The paedophiles used the chatroom Bebo to contact the child, whose parents only became aware of what was going on when an indecent image was found on her mobile phone.

One of the men used two different false names to cover his tracks, but police eventually traced 31-year-old shop worker Gary Dickinson to his home in Middlesbrough.

It emerged that he had raped the youngster five times after repeatedly refusing to take notice of her online pleas that nothing sexual should happen between them.

Dickinson is said to have “corrupted” the girl so much that she willingly became involved with another older man, James Walker, and had intimate meetings with him.

The 30-year-old carer, of Hollybush, Skelton, east Cleveland, admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child and was jailed for three years and four months.

Bespectacled Dickinson, who worked on the trade counter at B&Q in Stockton, pleaded guilty to five charges of rape, and was yesterday locked up for six years.

Judge Walford, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, branded Dickinson “a deviant” and said: “This case, topically, is another illustration of the dangers of the internet.”

He added: “You made contact with this girl, who, on the evidence, was undoubtedly vulnerable, by the social networking site.

“Over a prolonged period of what can fairly be described as grooming – prolonged weedling and persuasion – you overcame her resistance to sexual activity.

“A measure of the damage that you had, at least, contributed to, was the fact that more recently she became involved in sexual activity with another man she met on the social networking site.

“I am satisfied that the way you behaved towards her made her more vulnerable to unlawful attention from other males.”

Dickinson, of Ansdale Road, Middlesbrough, was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life, and was banned from ever working with children.

His lawyer, Rachel Dyson, said: “He accepts that he needs to work with the relevant authorities to address the issues he has. He would be willing to take part in any treatment programme.”

The court heard that Dickinson’s unsuspecting wife left him and started divorce proceedings immediately after police swooped on their home at 6am on March 19.

A analysis of the chatroom conversations showed how he wore down the girl with sexual suggestions, and even talked of threesomes with a younger child.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said that during one exchange, Dickinson – calling himself Simon – said a friend was looking for someone to have sex with six men and was willing to pay.

Social networks pledged to tighten security following the murder of Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall by a paedophile she met online.

Bebo has installed internet a “panic button” for youngsters to report suspicious activity. The website has also signed up to a voluntary safety code.

After the case, Detective Constable Andy Letts, of Middlesbrough CID, said: “This was a lengthy and disturbing investigation and I am very pleased with the sentence today.

“I hope this serves as a deterrent to others who seek to use social media sites to prey on children.

“I would encourage parents to be extra vigilant towards the internet activity of their children and to report anything suspicious to police.”