June 2021

‘Devious’ sex offender caught with secret phone and pictures of children

An online sex offender was caught with a smartphone and software designed to hide his internet history, a court has heard.

Craig Lloyd was handed a suspended prison sentence in 2019 for attempting to incite what he thought was a 12-year-old to engage in sexual activity.

As part of his sentence he was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order to control his access to the internet including a requirement he must declare any phones he owed to the police.

Hannah George, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that in May this year police officers monitoring the defendant in the community made an unannounced visit to his home.

The officers quizzed him about any electronic devices he had and he admitted he had a Samsung phone which he had bought the previous year and which he had not notified them about. Police carried out a search and also recovered a USB memory stick.

Lloyd was arrested and cautioned and told officers “there might be some stuff” on the phone as he had been involved in online chats.

An examination of the Samsung found it had software which deleted the internet search history and it also had pictures of children – albeit images of fully clothed youngsters and not indecent images.

In his interview the 37-year-old admitted buying the phone from eBay the previous October and not declaring it and said he used it look at pornography.

Craig Anthony Lloyd, of Neath Road, Hafod, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) when he appeared in the dock via videolink from prison for sentencing.

In 2019 he was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 24 months for attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to incite a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity. This case involved decoy social media accounts rather than real girls.

Matt Murphy, for Lloyd, said the offence was one “born out of temptation” but that Lloyd hadn’t been using the phone “to engage in communications with people he should not”. The advocate said the defendant had been working with probation while on the suspended sentence but “further intervention” was required.

Judge Geraint Walters told Lloyd he had been fortunate to avoid immediate prison in 2019 and had he been sentenced under the current Court of Appeal authority he would not have received a suspended sentence, which he said was the defendant’s “lucky break”.

However having been given a chance the judge said the defendant went on to commit a “wilful and flagrant” breach of the sexual harm prevention order, which showed “a measure of deviousness” on Lloyd’s part. He said it was clear the defendant had learned nothing.

Giving Lloyd the required one-third discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison for the breach and he activated eight months of the previously-imposed suspended sentence to run consecutively making an overall sentence of 20 months in prison.

Lloyd will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence.

The sexual harm prevention order remains in place.