April 2020

Paedophile Laurence Wheeler jailed for Hove sex crimes

A depraved paedophile filmed a baby in nappies in a changing room and filmed himself sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl.

Laurence Wheeler tried to indulge his horrific fantasies, committing five acts of voyeurism, including filming footage of a baby in a nappy and very young children under the stalls at public swimming pool changing rooms.

The 32-year-old also filmed females taking showers in a property in Hove.

Victims said they were left feeling “violated”, while the mother of the girl said she felt “physically sick” when she was told what had happened.

She said it has “destroyed” their lives.

At Hove Crown Court Wheeler admitted five counts of voyeurism, two counts of inciting a child under the age of 13 into sexual activity, and three counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Wheeler was first arrested at a family address New Addington, Croydon, in May last year after intelligence about indecent images of children was obtained by Sussex officers.

They found more than 500 indecent images of children, plus videos filmed with a phone hidden in a bathroom at an address in Hove in 2017 showing three women, videos of children filmed under the partition in changing rooms at a London swimming pool, and messages from Wheeler to the young girl with two videos showing the indecent acts which were filmed in 2018.

Judge Anne Arnold said Wheeler, formerly of Mortimer Gardens, Polegate, was a danger to children with a risk of committing similar crimes in the future.

She jailed him for six years, but extended the sentence to make sure he is not automatically released halfway through the sentence.

Wheeler will instead serve at least two thirds of the jail spell before he can be considered for parole.

Rachel Beckett, prosecuting, told the court Wheeler could be identified on the child abuse videos by his voice, tattoos, and glimpses of his face.

Wheeler was arrested at his mother’s address in Croydon, where he told her: “I’ve done a silly thing.”

It was revealed he had joined messenger apps like Kik with other paedophiles, where it was required to upload sick child sex images as a condition to join.

But Wheeler claims he never sent the images of him abusing the nine-year-old girl to anyone.

Judge Arnold said: “Clearly you developed links to paedophiles in the Kik app. You have an entrenched attraction to children.”

She said the six year sentence “does not fully represent the risk you present” and added an extra two years to his prison licence period.

Wheeler was put under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.