December 2020

Pervert wants to be banned from internet

A convicted paedophile says he wants to be banned completely from the internet to stop him continuing his perverted crimes.

Martin Richard Shepherd, 49, accepts he has to be kept locked up, his solicitor advocate Richard Reed told York Crown Court.

Matt Collins, prosecuting, said Shepherd viewed 125 gigabytes of indecent videos and pictures of children in less than four months.

He told police he was looking at them two or three times a week.

Shepherd was on parole from a five-year prison sentence passed at York Crown Court for similar offences.

Judge Simon Hickey told him: “You are doing exactly the kind of things this crown court tried to prevent.”

Shepherd, formerly of Harrogate, pleaded guilty to four breaches of a sexual harm prevention order.

The order was made when he was imprisoned for five years in 2017 after he was caught with three quarters of a million images of chidren

He also spied on naked and barely-dressed schoolgirls at a property in Harrogate after setting up covert video equipment.

Analysis of his computer equipment showed he had a “massive library collection” of photos and videos featuring serious sexual abuse of “very young” children including 12-month-old babies and youngsters who had been drugged or plied with alcohol.

Of the 748,000 illegal images found stored on his equipment, just under 9,000 photos and videos were rated Category A – depicting the worst kind of child sex abuse which includes the rape and torture of children by adults

Mr Reed said: “His problem at the moment is how to control his various urges.

“The only way forward is a complete ban on the internet. That is the way he sees himself keeping out of trouble.”

Shepherd was jailed for two years, plus a three-year extended licence meaning he can be recalled to prison until 2025 should he cause the authorities concern after his release on parole.

Mr Collins said police monitoring Shepherd realised on September 2 he had been using apps to view indecent videos and pictures.

Every time he used them, he deleted them to prevent police seeing what he was doing. Then he reinstalled them the next time he used them.

He had deleted 125 GB of data between May 13 and September 2.

January 2017

Pervert jailed after court hears of horrific child abuse images

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A hospital IT officer amassed three-quarters of a million indecent images of children and used his computer skills to avoid justice.

Martin Richard Shepherd, 45, went undetected for so many years because his expertise enabled him to encrypt the stash of vile images, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock said Shepherd, who worked in the IT department at Harrogate District Hospital for 22 years, trawled the dark web for images of child-sex abuse from May 2002 to the time of his arrest last June.

He also spied on naked and barely-dressed schoolgirls at a property in Harrogate after setting up covert video equipment.

Shepherd, described as a loner, was finally caught after national cyber-crime detectives traced illegal downloads to his computer IP address.

Analysis of his computer equipment showed he had a “massive library collection” of photos and videos featuring serious sexual abuse of “very young” children including 12-month-old babies and youngsters who had been drugged or plied with alcohol.

Of the 748,000 illegal images found stored on his equipment, just under 9,000 photos and videos were rated Category A – depicting the worst kind of child sex abuse which includes the rape and torture of children by adults

Jailing Shepherd for five years, Judge Paul Batty QC told him: “This is the worst case of its type that I have had to deal with in a long time in the law.”

“It represents the actual manifestation of abuse of little children on an extraordinary scale. For some 14 years or more, you were involved in this loathsome activity (and) you were viewing this material for hour upon hour.

“Some of the children who were depicted were babes-in-arms being abused in the vilest of ways, and some of the children were plainly drugged or had been fed alcohol.

“The charges that you admit are but a snapshot of what the police were able to view.”

He said police resources could not justify fully detailing all he had amassed over the years.

Ms Hancock said Shepherd’s collection was just a “snapshot” of the vile images he had amassed over the years.

The barrister said Shepherd had painstakingly catalogued the images in 22 encrypted volumes and used an “extremely-complex” system of passwords to hide them. Other images were deleted.

Shepherd, who has never had an intimate adult relationship, also distributed at least 19 depraved videos, 17 of which were in the most serious category, on a file-sharing site where paedophiles could exchange images.

She said: “The defendant admitted he used the dark web and [an anonymous browser] which makes it impossible to trace the internet use or [search] history,” added Ms Hancock.

“As a computer expert, he knew that it would not leave a forensic footprint of the searches that he was carrying out and his IP address could not be traced.”

Shepherd appeared to have let his guard down after 14 years of undetected internet activity, when police were finally able to trace some of the vile downloads to his computer using the national database.

Shepherd, of Chatsworth Grove, Harrogate, was charged with making and distributing child sexual abuse images, as well as gaining unauthorised access to private computer files at Harrogate Hospital.

He admitted these charges as well as two counts of voyeurism related to separate incidents in which he had set up webcams to take video footage of two female teenagers getting undressed in 2005 and 2012.

Shepherd saved 240 still and moving images from the webcam onto his computer, before editing the footage and placing some into a sub-folder.

Shepherd sat sobbing, with his head bowed, when he appeared for sentence on Tuesday.

Shepherd was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for life and subjected to a sexual-harm prevention order, which will restrict his internet use and prevent him deleting files.