December 2020

Paedophile pretended to be doctor on Skype giving ‘check ups’

A paedophile pretended to be a doctor on Skype giving out “check ups”.

James Flaherty sent the message on chatroom Chat Avenue before he asked an “11-year-old boy” to perform a sex act on him.

The 23-year-old had also messaged what he thought was the ‘boy’s’ father, but he was being duped by an undercover police officer.

When police raided his home and took his mobile phone they discovered more disturbing conversations.

In one message the sick pervert said he wanted to “sex up” his sister’s unborn child after it was born.

Flaherty appeared at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting the offences.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting, explained an undercover police officer in the East Midlands Special Operation Unit used both the names “John Gamble” online and “Timothy” to begin speaking to Flaherty.

She explained that on November 10 this year on Chat Avenue, in a section specifically for children, “John Gamble” sent the message “‘Dad of one here if anyone wants to chat PM me'”.

Ms Holt said: “At that stage contact was made to that area by the defendant.”

“He wrote: ‘Hi everyone, I’m a doctor I’m giving free check ups on Skype, PM me.'”

The officer then began speaking to Flaherty, asking his age, sex and location, following which the pair began chatting back and forth.

Flaherty was “saying he liked younger boys” including interaction on videos and “meeting up with them”.

Ms Holt explained how the undercover officer said he had an 11-year-old boy and told Flaherty he had met up with someone in “these circumstances” on one previous occasion.

Flaherty told the man it was “risky being open about what we’re into” and asked the officer if he “did stuff” with his “son”.

He then requested to talk to the “boy”, who was also the undercover officer, and sent a picture of himself holding his penis and asked him “do you want to touch it”.

Flaherty also sent a video of him performing a sex act on himself.

The court heard the messages went on for around three days before Merseyside Police were alerted and he was arrested.

After seizing Flaherty’s phone, officers discovered more conversations with what appeared to be children, although Ms Holt said there was nothing to suggest they were children, and may have been people purporting to be.

To one of the recipients, Flaherty sent a video of a child performing a sex act on a man and being raped

He also asked someone described as a 12-year-old female, to send pictures of her breasts and of her performing sex acts on herself.

In one message he wrote: “My sister is pregnant, I’m planning to sex him up.”

However, he later, during an interview, “specifically referred to having a nephew”, using it as a reason he “wouldn’t have done things”.

Flaherty, of The Elms, Dingle, has no previous convictions.

Flaherty admitted two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, two counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child, and two counts of attempting to incite a female child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Swinnerton, sentencing, said: “The reality in your head, in your mind, and for your own sexual gratification – you believed these were children.”

Describing the “Timothy offences” the judge said: “You were acting fully in the belief that what you were doing was communicating with an 11-year-old boy for your sexual gratification.

“You were 21 at the time he was, you thought, an 11-year-old boy. That would be a significant disparity in age.”

Flaherty was jailed for three years and four months and must sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was also imposed, which restricts Flaherty from owning devices which can access the internet.