May 2019

Paedophile sentenced to further 12 years for additional offences – Berkhamsted

A paedophile has been sentenced to a further 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to additional sexual offences against children.

Michael Emerton, aged 34, from Berkhamsted, appeared before St Albans Crown Court via video link on Wednesday, May 1.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiring to rape a child aged five to eight, and two charges of conspiring to have sexual activity with a child aged five to eight.

The court heard that on separate occasions between November 2015 and October 2016, Emerton had engaged in conversations with two men on Skype, discussing fees for a number of sexual acts to be performed on a young male victim.

The cases against the other two men allegedly involved in the conspiracy with Emerton were initially dismissed at court, but are now under review. The victim has been identified and is now safeguarded.

Emerton was given a 12 year sentence for the two conspiracy to rape offences and a four year sentence for the conspiracy to commit sexual activity offences, both of which will run concurrently to the previous sentences he is already serving.

Investigators from Hertfordshire’s Child Online Safeguarding Team (COST) exposed these offences as part of Operation Pendent, an investigation that uncovered a sickening worldwide paedophile ring led by Emerton. The inquiry was the largest of its kind ever conducted by the force.

As a result, in December 2017 Emerton was handed nine and a half life sentences. Emerton had streamed live footage of children being abused while also committing sexual acts in front of them.

Paedophile ring boss admits more crimes

A paedophile already serving 10 life sentences has admitted more child abuse charges.

Michael Emerton, 34, admitted two charges of conspiring to rape a child and two counts of conspiring to have sexual activity with a child.

St Albans Crown Court heard the crimes came to light after further police investigation of chat rooms and websites he used.

Emerton, of Berkhamstead, was jailed in 2017 for operating a paedophile ring.

Judge Michael Kay gave him jail terms of 12 and four years to run alongside his existing sentences.

The judge said: “The sense of shock one feels is beyond words.”

Emerton was given life sentences in December 2017 after admitting 20 offences related to running a paedophile ring that saw him organise abuse with other men via dating apps.

He arranged the live streaming of abuse via a video link and, on other occasions, arranged to meet men and take part in sex acts in front of children.

During his previous sentencing, Judge Michael Kay QC said the case was “so shocking” it “undermines one’s faith in humanity”.

“Never before have I read a police summary of a case which begins with a warning that the reader should be very wary of the content due to the abhorrent nature of the offending,” he said.

The six other men of the ring were:

  • Paul Stevens, 54, of St Albans, admitted conspiracy to rape a child under 13 and conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child under 13 and was jailed for 10 years.

  • Matthew Webby, 30, of Hemel Hempstead, admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, conspiracy to rape a child, conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, and possession of indecent images of children, and was jailed for nine years.

  • Robert Lindsay, 39, of Markyate, Hertfordshire, admitted conspiracy to rape a child, conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, making indecent images of a child, and to causing or inciting the child sexual exploitation of a 17-year-old, and was jailed for five years and three months.

  • Simon Wintle, 44, of Hemel Hempstead, admitted sexual activity in the presence of a child and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child and was jailed for two years and six months.

  • David Overall, 44, of Stevenage, admitted distributing and downloading indecent photographs of children and was sentenced to two years.

  • Thomas Perry, 28, from Northchurch, Hertfordshire was jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to rape a child under the age of 13, conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child under 13 and causing a child to watch a sexual act.