September 2015

Already convicted paedophile jailed after being caught in police sting operation

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A SELF-CONFESSED and already convicted paedophile from Callington has been caught in a police sting operation trying to set up a meeting with two under-age youngsters to have sex with them.

When asked what he would do with the children, perverted Michael Johns told an undercover police officer that he would go as far with the children “as they were happy to”, Truro Crown Court heard on Friday.

Philip Lee, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Johns and the officer, ‘Tom’, started talking online on June 13 about the policeman’s fictional children, Nicky, aged 9 and James, aged 11.

Mr Lee said they spoke on the phone and in text messages and arranged to meet in Bristol on June 24.

When the pair met up, Johns was asked about what he wanted to do with the children.

Mr Lee said he said he would go “as far as the would be happy to”, adding: “I am fairly open-minded about that sort of thing as long as they were happy to.”

Mr Lee added: “He asked the officer if their mum knew about what was happening and he told the defendant their mum had no idea.”

The court heard that during the course of the meeting, he also showed the officer a number of indecent images of children on his computer tablet.

The officer asked if Johns would be willing to transfer the images to him which was done.

Mr Lee said there were further conversations between the two men and a second meeting arranged but on June 29, Johns told ‘Tom’ that he would not be able to meet up for a couple of weeks.

He was arrested the following day.

In police interview, Johns, 54, told officers that he had never abused a child himself.

Mr Lee said: “When asked to explain why not, he told the police that it was because he had not had the opportunity.”

Johns, now of Basset Street, Camborne, admitted one count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, five of distributing indecent images of children, one of possessing such images and one of being in possession of extreme pornographic images.

Mr Lee said the images of children included photographs and videos at the most serious level including one which depicted “a really unimaginable scene”.

In 2013, while living on St Germans Road, Callington, Johns admitted being in possession of 10,000 images showing child sexual abuse plus 250,000 images of the same which had been deleted from his computer.

Johns was sentenced to two years imprisonment for those offences and came into contact with the undercover officer just months after the licence period for them had expired, the court heard.

Chris Spencer, for the defence, said his client had asked for the court to pass a sentence of imprisonment which would allow him to receive treatment in custody.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said: “He seems to have admitted that he can’t help himself.

“Mr Johns recognises that he is a significant risk to children.”

Johns was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a five-year extended licence period, meaning he will have to serve at least two-thirds his sentence before being eligible for parole and will be subject to licence conditions until 2027.

Judge Harvey Clark added: “The undercover officer deserves enormous credit by the public for undertaking what must be regarded as an extremely unsavoury role in order to arrest an individual like Mr Johns.”

October 2013

Thousands of indecent pictures of kids kept by paedophile

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A CALLINGTON man who had a quarter of a million indecent images of children as young as 5 on his computer has been jailed.

Michael Johns, 52, admitted 25 counts of making and distributing indecent images of children and of possessing extreme pornographic images.

In total the charges related to more than 10,000 images on dates between July 2009 and October 2012 but police said the true extent of Johns’ collection ran to hundreds of thousands of images.

At Truro Crown Court on Friday, Iain White, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police were alerted to Johns because of a website he had used to upload indecent images, which was traced back to his internet protocol (IP) address in Callington.

Officers went to Johns’ home on St Germans Road on October 20, 2012, and seized his computer equipment.

“He made a number of detailed admissions … he accepted that he was addicted [that he had] looked at thousands of images of children and masturbated to them.”

Mr White said when the computer equipment was examined, officers found more than 10,000 “live” images – ones that had not been deleted – which is the material referred to in the charges.

They also found approximately 250,000 images, which had been deleted.

A significant number of the live images were at the higher end of the scale used to categorise indecent images; including 1,919 at level four and 186 at level five.

He was charged with 15 counts of making images of children, three counts of possessing prohibited images of children and four counts of distributing indecent images of children.

He also admitted three counts of possessing extreme pornographic images showing a person performing a sex act or having intercourse with an animal.

Nigel Hall, for the defence, said prior to the offences, Johns was struggling with his employment and his home situation.

“Since arrest his life has collapsed,” said Mr Hall. “When he attended magistrates’ court he made an attempt on his own life.”

Judge John Neligan said: “You downloaded a significant number of such images ranging between levels one to five for your admitted personal sexual gratification but what is more serious is that you distributed indecent photographs of children as young as 5 – following what has sadly become a pattern in such cases, which is that an initial interest in adult pornography progresses to an interest in more extreme pornography, and in your case child pornography.”

Judge Neligan sentenced Johns to two years’ imprisonment and ordered he be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for eight years.

He also ordered Johns’ computer equipment and hard drives be destroyed. John must also sign the sex offenders register for ten years.