May 2021

Paedophile had software that blocked police internet checks

A convicted paedophile who had special software that prevented forensic experts finding out what he was doing online has been jailed.

A police officer suspected Brian Neil Epps had been searching for sexual images of children online when he made an unannounced inspection of the 75-year-old man’s laptops, said James Howard, prosecuting.

But when police forensic experts tried to investigate what was on one of his computers, they found it had had blocking software installed by its user. Epps claimed he didn’t know about the software.

Police were monitoring him because he was on a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) made in 2013 when he was jailed for four years for prolonged sexual abuse of children.

Epps, of Gateland Close, Haxby, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the SHPO and failure to provide a password or similar information to unlock the blocking software.

“I have no hesitation in saying you knew exactly what was on the computer,” said Judge Simon Hickey.

Epps was jailed for 15 months and must pay £600 prosecution costs by February 22 following his release. The SHPO remains in force, York Crown Court heard.

Mr Howard said the police officer’s unannounced visit was on April 13, 2019.

On April 14, 2021, another police visit revealed that Epps had a computer he had not declared to the police as he had to under the SHPO and that he had not declared it during an earlier visit on November 3, 2020.

October 2013

Paedophile kept victims’ pictures on his wall

A sex offender who kept indecent photos of children he abused for decades and displayed them on his walls has been jailed.

Workmen called police when they saw the pictures at Brian Epps’s home in Haxby last year, said Kate Batty, prosecuting.

One of his victims was a girl he sexually assaulted for five years, starting when she was five and stopping when her mother found an indecent picture of her taken by Epps.

The other victim was her brother when he was in his early teens.

The sex offender, now 68, had repeatedly abused them more than three decades ago when he was a friend of their parents.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told him: “It all happened, of course, a long time ago. However the seriousness of what happened is not diminished by the passage of time. Whilst you have been able to move on in your life and you have had the freedom to do so, both complainants in this case have had to live with their experiences of what you did when they were children.”

Epps, of Gateland Close, Haxby, was jailed for four years. He admitted nine charges of indecent assault, one of indecency with a child, and four of possessing or taking indecent images of children.

Miss Batty said the girl said she had felt “awful” when he abused her and the boy had found the experience “creepy” but both had felt unable to tell their parents. The girl had wrongly felt her silence made her in some way responsible for her brother’s abuse. Both had had difficulty trusting people after the abuse.

Epps’s barrister, Taryn Turner, said of his life since the abuse: “He was well respected and well thought of, but of course, he had a guilty secret.”

Epps was an isolated man who had never married and lived alone in a “tip” of a house. He was ashamed and remorseful of what he had done.