April 2020

Jail for IT expert who trawled the internet for child sex abuse images

A perverted computer engineer who trawled the net for vile sexual abuse images of children as young as three has been jailed for 18 months.

Sending Timothy Cornford to prison, Judge Peter Crabtree said the offending was “simply too serious for anything other than an immediate custodial sentence”.

The 52-year-old from Trowbridge is already behind bars, having been recalled to prison late last year on a life licence handed down in 2007 by a London judge after he admitted trying to meet what he thought was a 12-year-old girl for sex.

Swindon Crown Court heard police were tipped off in 2018 that Cornford was searching the internet for abuse images after his IP address was flagged as having logged onto a file sharing website used by paedophiles.

They seized his Samsung laptop and a hard drive from a safe. Saved on the drive were almost 900 indecent images of children aged three to 12 as well as 341 extreme pornographic images showing people having sex with animals.

The images could not be accessed except with specialist software, which Cornford did not have.

When he was first interviewed by police in April last year he denied having the indecent images.

Six months later, after the devices had been analysed and the image files revealed, he admitted the offences.

He was charged and pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images in categories A, B and C.

Cornford was said to have accessed the images over around a two month period at the end of 2018.

Judge Peter Crabtree said the offences were aggravated by Cornford’s previous record of sexual offences.

In 2002 he was jailed for nine months for having indecent images and five years later given an indeterminate public protection sentence and told to serve at least two years behind bars after he admitted arranging to meet an undercover police officer, who was posing as a 12-year-old girl, for sex.

Cornford was made subject to a 10 year sexual harm prevention order preventing him from accessing internet-enabled devices except in certain circumstances.

He must sign onto the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

January 2007

Internet sex predator jailed for grooming ‘schoolgirl’

An internet sex predator who arranged to meet a 12-year-old schoolgirl for a night of illicit passion has been jailed for a minimum of two and a half years.

Timothy Cornford had spent weeks bombarding her with a string of pornographic pictures and lurid emails, telling her how she would be his “special little girl and porn model”.

Hiding behind the sick alias “family love”, the unemployed computer engineer described his incestuous fantasies in graphic detail.

London’s Southwark Crown Court was told he left the pre-teen in no doubt what he wanted to do with her and begged her to spend the night at his one-bedroom flat where he had an array of sado masochistic and bondage equipment, including whips, a dog collar and lead and nipple clamps.

Eventually the bachelor arranged to meet the youngster in a south London park last September.

But when he arrived he discovered the schoolgirl was really an undercover policeman whose colleagues arrested him on the spot.

When officers searched his home in Croham Road, Croydon, south London, they found nearly 100 child porn images on his computer.

The 39-year-old, who used to live in Bristol, pleaded guilty to trying to meet a child after sexual grooming on the internet, attempting to cause her to watch sexual acts, and making indecent photographs of an under-age youngster.

The self-confessed “pervert”, who had previously been jailed for possessing 20,000 child porn images – including children as young as nine months – and possessing obscene articles for gain, remained impassive as Judge James Wadsworth QC told him he clearly posed a “significant risk of serious harm” to children.

“I have been told the conversations you were having in chat rooms was fantasy and that may well be right.

“But it is fantasy I have to consider against a background of what has been called ‘paraphernalia’ in your home, against a background of assertions you made to what you believed was a 12-year-old girl, against the background of your previous conviction and, most importantly against the fact you attended what you believed was to be a meeting with a girl you had very plainly told was for sexual purposes.”

The judge said all that, together with the fact his obsession with child sex was growing worse, meant he had no option but impose an indefinite prison sentence for public protection and would have to serve a minimum two and a half years before being considered for parole.