March 2021

Northampton paedophile who was messaging 15 young girls caught after mum confiscated daughter’s phone

A Northampton paedophile who was caught soliciting up to 15 young girls through social media apps was found after a mum confiscated her daughter’s phone.

Graham Sandford was arrested from a Northampton address in March 2019 after officers traced his identity from the device of one of his victims.

Northampton Crown Court heard how police were alerted after a mum confiscated her daughter’s phone after she came home from school acting “quiet and unusual”.

It was then that the phone buzzed with a new message from a contact named ‘G Man’ – Sandford – asking why she “wasn’t texting back” and asking for explicit pictures. The mum rang the police.

Prosecutor Philip Plant told the court: “[The mother] believes her daughter was all the more vulnerable because she has autism.

“In a victim impact statement she wrote, ‘I felt my daughter would be safe on a children’s social media app and I was devastated to find she had been targeted this way. I’m concerned for future social media use and for my other children’s welfare who I need to protect’.”

Sandford, 33, was arrested from an address in Northampton in June 2019. When officers searched his devices, they found he was at that time he was soliciting up to 15 young girls online, one of whom was in the USA

They also seized computers and devices containing 236 indecent images of children, 58 of which were classified ‘Category A’ – the most extreme rating possible.

However, in court, Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane was moved to spare the 33-year-old from immediate imprisonment even thought he was facing approximately three years in jail – a sentence that typically cannot be suspended.

The judge was convinced after Sandford’s defence barrister Mr Kevin Saunders told the court the 33-year-old was “susceptible to bullying and had been all his life”, and would face persecution in prison.

Judge Crane instead handed Sanford, who is now living in Huntingdon, a three-year community order and a requirement to attend the Horizon sex offenders programme.