July 2015

Computer expert jailed for making & sharing child abuse images

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A doctor of computer science has been jailed for 45 months following an operation with the National Crime Agency and Nottinghamshire Police.

Jonathan Grattage, 34, who was among the leading IT experts in Europe, shared images of child abuse, including abuse he had carried out, online for a number of years. He used encryption codes and specialist software to try and evade detection.

Grattage, who was arrested at his former Nottingham home in August 2014, used The Onion Router or ‘TOR’ to access websites used by paedophiles. TOR is a piece of software which encrypts and conceals the identity of the user as they search and use the internet, and is known as the ‘dark web’.

He visited a number of websites used by paedophiles where he discussed the abuse of a young child in a chat-room and shared images of abuse which he had carried out on a young child himself.

An investigation by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation Online Protection Command identified Grattage through his user name and IP address in 2014.

As a result, Grattage was arrested and officers from Nottinghamshire Police seized computer equipment from the property.

They found that computers and storage devices used by Grattage were encrypted, however when challenged, the codes and passwords were eventually supplied by Grattage or overridden by experts within the Nottinghamshire Police Digital Investigation Unit.

A number were found to contain images of child abuse which were among the categorisation for the most serious offences.

Grattage later admitted sexually abusing a young child, having initially denied the allegation.

In November 2014, Grattage, of Gladstone Terrace, Bridlington, was charged with eight offences including making and possessing indecent images of children, inciting a child under 13 to engage in a sexual act and sexually assaulting a child.

He admitted all eight charges and appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday, where he was sent to prison for 45 months.