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stuart witham used omegle whatsapp and kik for sex crimes

Stuart Witham used Omegle, WhatsApp and Kik for sex crimes

Stuart Graham Witham, 31, spent nearly 20 years searching the internet for indecent videos and pictures of youngsters, York Crown Court heard. Brooke Morrison, prosecuting, said when he was caught through a WhatsApp police sting, Witham had a collection of more than 30,000 sexual videos and pictures of children, some as young as five. Officers then found evidence he had performed sexual acts when randomly paired with children and women, via the Omegle online chat facility. During the acts, he had asked them to show him their bodies. He had also, via the Kik social media app, offered to sell images from his illegal collection for Bitcoins or Amazon gift vouchers. Witham told police he had “no sexual interest in children”, said Ms Morrison. “I am afraid that cannot be right,” Judge Simon Hickey told Witham. “From the age of 12 you have engaged in this kind of behaviour.” Witham, 31, of Mayfield Terrace, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, two charges of distributing indecent images of children and three of having indecent images of children. He was jailed for two years. He was put on the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, both for 10 years. His barrister Lucy Brown said since his arrest in June 2021, Witham had undergone cognitive therapy and other work to change his ways. “He recognises his behaviour needs to stop and he hasn’t buried his head in the sand,” she said. Ms Morrison said Witham had been part of a WhatsApp group of people who discussed children in a sexual way and shared indecent images of children. But one of the members was an undercover police officer and Witham was arrested. Police seized his internet devices and found 2,730 indecent videos and 29,266 indecent pictures of children, including 1,065 videos and 2,735 pictures of the worst category and 24,453 pictures of the least serious category. They also found that when using the Omegle app’s random pairing facility, Witham had immediately broken the connection when paired with a man, but kept it open when paired with random women or children and performed sex acts. He had had more than 40 conversations using the app. Ms Brown said Witham had told a probation officer his actions were “incredibly stupid” and he had “no excuse”. He had had a “difficult and traumatic childhood” which had forced him to grow up very quickly. He was remorseful for his behaviour.

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