Rocky Knight – Farnworth/Burnley

March 2021

Burnley paedophile jailed after Grindr date’s concerns

A paedophile who sent disturbing messages about child abuse to a man he had met on Grindr has been jailed after he was reported to the police.

Just weeks after a sexual harm prevention order was placed upon Rocky Knight, who had found in possession of sick pictures of children, he breached requirements by going online under a pseudonym and contacting others.

However one of the men he had contacted through Grindr, a social network for gay dating, went to Burnley police station after he became concerned about the content of some of Knight’s messages.

Judge David Potter said: “You came to the attention of the police following your interaction with another person on social media. You had met this person through Grindr and sent them a disturbing but ultimately fantasy piece including child abuse. You were using a pseudonym.

“You were also using Snapchat under pseudonyms. The use of those placed you in breach of notification requirements and you were arrested.”

Four mobile phones were eventually handed over when Knight was arrested however he refused to provide pin numbers for the devices. Despite that officers were able to access the phones and discovered that Knight had been deleting the browsing history.

Judge Potter described how on one of the phones more than 500 items had been deleted – among them terms for incest and gay pornography.

Knight appeared in Magistrates where he pleaded not guilty to all of the breaches, and so was on bail when officers again visited his address in December 2019.

Judge Potter explained: “On December 14 an officer attended at your address in Burnley to conduct a compliance visit. You indicated you were pursuing a complaint against the police and so a Sergeant came to assist.

“You had a basic Nokia phone on view but after a considerable degree of hesitation you produced a Samsung and an Iphone from a secreted place in your home.

“They were examined. On the Samsung there were a large number of tabs open and you were found to again be using a pseudonym, this time MartinClitheroe. On that device was Snapchat.”

Knight was arrested again and taken into custody, where he has been since.

The court heard how Knight had been ousted from his traveller-community family following his original conviction in 2019.

At the time the Bolton News, the Lancashire Telegraph’s sister paper, mounted a legal battle to name Knight after he attempted to seek anonymity from the court for his offending, citing a fear of retribution as the reason he wanted to conceal his identity.

Jailing Knight, of Colne Road, Burnley, for a term on 20 months for several notification requirement breaches and breaches of a SHPO, Judge Potter said: “Fair it is to say that an analysis of all the devices showed no possession of indecent images.

“It is true that your convictions have caused great strain upon your relationships with your family and you are now effectively ostracised from your family and wider community.

“This is your first experience in custody, and it has been one under significant restriction as a result of the pandemic. Breaching a sexual harm prevention order and notification requirements are always serious offences. As such these offences are so serious that only an immediate sentence of custody is appropriate.

“The offences were committed within days of the order. That demonstrates to this court a flagrant disreged of the order and a demonstration on your part to carry on with you life as though you ought not ot be under notification or order requirements.”

February 2021

Burnley paedophile appears in front of a judge

A convicted paedophile has pleaded guilty to several breaches of a sexual harm prevention order. 

Rocky Dino Knight, who had previously fought for 18 months to keep his name out of the media, appeared before Judge Sara Dodd at Burnley Crown Court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to four breaches of the order which was imposed upon him in 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to a further count of failing to comply with notification requirements. 

The 32-year-old was made subject to the order after he admitted the possession and distribution of indecent images of children.

While Knight pleaded guilty to the possession offences in July 2017, he was determined that no one outside the court should know about his crime and sought to persuade a judge to grant him anonymity.

Knight claimed he and his family would be at risk of being harmed if his identity came to light as he argued that such offences are not tolerated in the traveller community to which he belongs.

The Lancashire Telegraph’s sister title, the Bolton News, appointed a barrister an to fight the case – later being granted permission to name him.

Knight, of Colne Road, Burnley but formerly of Farnworth, is set to be sentenced for the breaches in March, when he will also be dealt with for the further breach and failure to comply counts he had already pleaded guilty to during a hearing at Blackburn Magistrates in December.

December 2020

Convicted paedophile who wanted to remain anonymous re-offends

A convicted sex offender who fought for 18 months to keep his name out of the media has reoffended.

Blackburn magistrates heard Rocky Dino Knight was named and shamed after a protracted battle with the Lancashire Telegraph’s sister paper Bolton News.

He claimed that as a member of the travelling community he would be at risk if it became known he had been downloading and distributing child sexual abuse images

But in 2019 a judge ruled he could be named and also made Knight subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Knight, 39, of Colne Road, Burnley, pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual harm prevention order by accessing Snapchat on two different devices and breaching requirements of the sex offenders register by using names he had not notified to the police on snapchat.

On Tuesday, he was sent in custody to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on February 12.

Adam Boney, prosecuting, said the Crown viewed the defendant as a high risk sex offender.

On Monday December 14, 2020, police carried out a compliance visit at his home and he produced a Nokia phone, an iPhone and a Samsung all of which had access to the internet and snapchat accounts.

“These are serious breaches and he clearly knew he was in breach of the sexual harm prevention order and the sex offender registration requirements,” said Mr Boney.

The Bolton News won a 19 month-long legal battle in February 2019.

Knight faced accusations, which he eventually admitted, that he had possessed and distributed indecent images of children.

But while he pleaded guilty in July 2017, he was determined that no one outside the court should know about his crime and sought to persuade a judge to grant him anonymity.

Knight claimed he and his family would be at risk of being harmed if his identity came to light as he argued that such offences are not tolerated in the traveller community to which he belongs.

But The Bolton News believed he was merely trying to avoid the inevitable public shame which accompanies convictions for offences involving indecent images of children, challenged his application and appointed a barrister to fight the case.

As the case was proceeding through Bolton Crown Court Judge Richard Gioserano made an order postponing reporting of proceedings to give Knight time to produce evidence backing up his claim that he would be at risk if his name was known in connection with such an offence.

Throughout 22 hearings 47-year-old Knight made claims, which could not be verified, that he and his family would be in danger from others in his community.

Judge Gioserano initially threw out his anonymity application in July 2018 but kept an order in place postponing reporting of proceedings until Knight decided to seek a judicial review or could produce further evidence to support his assertions that other travellers had been attacked by members of their community for similar offences and he would be targeted too.

He alleged that threats had been made against him after his conviction, in 2017, for illegal puppy farming.

To back up his claim he produced photographs of graffiti, calling him a dog killer, which was daubed on the walls of his home.

But the graffiti was only reported to police in August 2018, many months after the puppy farming conviction and after Judge Gioserano had initially rejected Knight’s anonymity application.

Knight also produced online articles about other travellers who had died or been attacked but none of the incidents were associated with the defendant.

Judge Gioserano found that the additional “evidence” he presented had only been from online searches and none of the cases had any connection with Knight.

The judge stated that the evidence presented by Knight “even if admissible, does not justify granting anonymity.”

“Even if others have suffered in this way … no persons involved had any connection with the defendant,” said the judge.

Judge Gioserano ruled that there was no evidence of any real and immediate risk to Knight and his family from him being identified.

Barrister Gervase de Wilde, was appointed by the Bolton News’s parent company, Newsquest, to represent the newspaper in court at one of the earlier hearings.

Mr de Wilde stressed that anonymity can only be granted where there is a real and immediate danger to life which can be objectively verified and Knight’s assertions could not be.

Judge Gioserano stated that Knight’s claims of possible violence, or even death, against himself were “merely subjective” and “not supported by any objective evidence, let alone clear and cogent evidence”.

Rejecting Knight’s application for anonymity, Judge Gioserano said: “The defendant is, no doubt, anxious to avoid the nature of his offending becoming widely known in case others may think he has a sexual interest in children and react adversely towards him as a result — this is no more than him fearing the inevitable consequences of his offending.

“A very important aspect of the public interest in the administration of criminal justice is that the identity of those convicted for criminal offences should not be concealed.”

February 2019

Paedophile used mobile phone to distribute extreme indecent images of children

A paedophile was caught with indecent images of children as young as one after an acquaintance became concerned about the nature of his communications

Bolton Crown Court heard how Rocky Knight, aged 47 of Masefield Drive, Farnworth had been in touch with a man in Ireland.

“Reference was made to the abuse of children,” said Juliet Berry, prosecuting, who added that the man was so worried that he contacted the Garda in Ireland who, in turn, passed the information to Greater Manchester Police.

On November 6 2016 police seized several of Knight’s devices, including a Blackberry mobile phone.

It was analysed and investigators found that Knight had distributed 11 of the most serious category A indecent images or children, nine category B images and 21 category C images.

The images had been sent by Knight to eight different paedophiles in chats via Blackberry Messenger, Whats App and the Kik messenger service in September and October 2104.

“There was discussion in relation to these in conversations about their preferences in regard to children and the like,” said Miss Berry, who added that it was inferred that they had an interest in children.

Images found on his phone included 21 category A images, 13 in category B and 35 in category C.

The category A pictures showed children aged eight to 12 being abused.

“It was evident that a child concerned was distressed,” said Miss Berry.

The category B images were of children between the ages of one and three.

Investigators found that Knight had not made specific internet searches for pornographic images of children, although he had looked for extreme pornography.

They concluded that he obtained the indecent images of children through chat messages with other people.

Knight, who was convicted of illegal puppy farming in a RSPCA case in December 2107, initially made no comment when arrested for possessing the indecent images and then tried to claim he had been forced into distributing the images before finally admitting his guilt.

Judge Richard Gioserano told Knight: “Finally, you are being sentenced in this case.”

He added: “It became obvious that you had not only been involved in receiving indecent images of children, but you had been sending them. There are a significant number of images here, although not a substantial number the court often encounters [in other cases].

Knight was sentenced to a community order for two years, ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and participate in 40 days of rehabilitation activities.

Last year Knight spent six months in prison on remand for the offences.

Judge Gioserano told him: “I want to make clear that you would have received an immediate custodial sentence if you had not spent so long on remand awaiting sentence.”

The judge also made a sexual harm prevention order against Knight and he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

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