Colchester pervert used dark web to access indecent images and tried to cover his tracks

A pervert who used the dark web to access images depicting the sexual abuse of young girls tried to cover his tracks with specialist software designed to clean up his computer.

Nicola May, prosecuting, described how police executed a search warrant at 49-year-old Ernani Robaldo-Sibona’s home in Colchester in February 2019.

They acted upon an alert which is triggered when people use the internet to search for or download illegal material relating to children.

Robaldo-Sibona’s laptop was seized and a forensic search revealed he had accessed images depicting the abuse of children ranging from the ages of four to 16. The images primarily showed pre-pubescent girls.

Two relevant types of software were found on the laptop, one of which enabled the owner to access the dark web.

The other could be used to clean up the laptop’s search history and data files.

A chat log found on the device revealed Robaldo-Sibona had taken part in a conversation with another male in November 2017, through which he had watched the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old girl.

The record showed he had requested more explicit images during the conversation.

Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court, Robaldo-Sibona admitted three counts of making indecent images of children.

The charges related to eight of the most serious Category A images, nine at Category B and 30 at Category C

Recorder Heather Rogers QC imposed a sentence of 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.  

Robaldo-Sibona, of Trafalgar Road, Colchester, must complete 120 hours of unpaid work and a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order lasting ten years, which will regulate his use of electronic devices.