Paedophile bought phones to Facebook boys while living in Worcester
A high risk paedophile who abused young boys has breached a court order by buying two mobile phones and contacting children on Facebook.
Sex offender Colin Rickards who indecently assaulted young boys had been living in an approved premises called Braley House in Ombersley Road, Worcester, when he bought the mobile phones from a city shop.
The 66-year-old was jailed at Worcester Crown Court on Friday after he admitted three breaches of his sexual harm prevention order, imposed on September 23, 2016.
Antonie Muller, prosecuting, said Rickards was a registered sex offender and was ‘managed accordingly and assessed in previous reports as a very high risk sex offender’. The defendant has convictions for indecent assaults on children and making indecent images of children and was jailed for nine years for buggery in 2002.
When he was released on licence he was monitored at Braley House and was made aware he had to contact his offender manager if he bought a mobile phone.
On October 8 the offender manager received information that Rickards had a mobile phone capable of accessing the internet. She attended and the defendant produced a MobiWire headset, telling her it was not capable of accessing the internet.
Further investigations were conducted and a profile picture was found of Rickards in a Newcastle United shirt. He had 23 friends associated with that account.
On October 11 the manager of the Vodafone store in Worcester provided CCTV of Rickards buying two mobile phones.
Rickards had entered the shop on October 3, buying the MobiWire and a Samsung Galaxy A40 smartphone capable of accessing the internet.
Rickards returned to the same store on October 15, asking if he could buy more phone data. The officer returned to Braley House and Rickards was arrested.
Both phones were seized. In interview he admitted breaching the SHPO and was aware of the prohibitions as they had been explained to him ‘on a dozen occasions’.
“He had been using the Samsung to contact underage boys online and had been totally dishonest with his offender manager” said Mr Muller.
Rickards had searched through thousands of suggested friends on Facebook and ‘sent friend requests to the ones he liked the look of’.
“By that he means boys he found sexually attractive” said Mr Muller.
He was found to have 70 friends under the age of 18.
Mr Muller said the offence was aggravated by him lying to his offender manager, deleting material to try and hide his activity and his ‘history of disobedience to court orders’.
“He has gone out and bought the means to contact the sort of victims he had offended against in the past,” said Mr Muller.
Debra White, defending, said her client was a type two diabetic and had found custody ‘difficult’.
Miss White said: “Fortunately there were no face to face contact offences. These were offences committed by the use of the internet. There’s little else to be said.”
She asked that he be given full credit for his admission in interview.
Recorder David Mason QC said it was because of the persistence of the probation service his behaviour was ‘nipped in the bud’ and that his actions represented ‘a very serious breach’.
Recorder Mason sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the two phones.
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