July 2021

Paedophile caught with ‘truly appalling’ abuse images may never be released from jail

A dangerous sex offender who was found with sickening baby rape images has been sent back to prison and may never be let out.

David Smith was caught with the ‘truly appalling’ images by police who were monitoring him because he has previously been jailed for distributing child abuse images.

He tried to hide his activities by using masking software and untraceable internet addresses but police became suspicious when they found pictures which he claimed were flat-chested young adult women.

They found images of babies as young as six months being raped by adult men.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court told him: “They are truly appalling. They showed the worst conceivable child abuse. They are completely disgusting and one can only imagine with horror the pain and suffering caused by these acts.”

Smith was jailed indefinitely in 2007 for making and distributing child images under a sentence called Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) which has since been abolished. He was declared a dangerous offender at the time.

He served seven years before he was released after completing courses which were thought to have made him safe to return to the community

He remained on prison licence and officers under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) found the images during an unannounced spot check at his South Devon home in May last year.

He was recalled to prison immediately and is currently at Dartmoor Prison. The IPP, which is a type of life sentence, remains in place so he will only be freed if and when he can persuade the authorities he poses no risk of re-offending.

Smith, aged 50, from Newton Abbot, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children by downloading. He was jailed for two years by Judge Timothy Rose.

He told him: ”You were not only unable to control your impulses but you were acting in a manipulative and secretive way and taking what steps you could to avoid detection, knowing you were being supervised.

“You used virtual private networks and masking software so you could cheat the system and carry on offending.

“Your sentence of two years will be calculated from today but you remain under the IPP and I do not know when the prison authorities will consider it safe to release you. It seems to me that could be a very long time.”

Mr Tom Faulkner, prosecuting, said two police officers on a Mappa visit seized two phones and a laptop on May 21, 2020. They became suspicious because he was using a virtual private network and had images he said were of young adult females.

They found 18 images of naked girls on one device and 101 on a phone, including 17 which came into the worst category and some showed babies of up to a year being penetrated by adult men.

There were searches for necrophilia and nudist children and images from a site named Incest Daily.

Mr Andrew Cohen, defending, is very sorry that he was unable to control his interest in children but has now been recalled and has no idea when he will be released.

He said he had done well on licence until his re-arrest and had been working as an assistant at a Mountain Warehouse shop where he was so well thought of that he was a keyholder.