Safeguarding News January 2022
Wed, 23 March 2022
10:30 – 12:00 GMT
Tue, 5 April 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 10 May 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Wed, 15 June 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 12 July 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Wed, 17 August 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Wed, 21 September 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Wed, 9 November 2022
10:30 – 12:00 GMT
Tue, 13 December 2022
10:30 – 12:00 GMT
Tue, 15 March 2022
10:30 – 12:00 GMT
Wed, 25 May 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 5 July 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 27 September 2022
10:30 – 12:00 BST
Wed, 23 November 2022
10:30 – 12:00 GMT
Thu, 31 March 2022
10:00 – 11:30 BST
Tue, 24 May 2022
10:00 – 11:30 BST
Thu, 14 July 2022
10:00 – 11:30 BST
Tue, 20 September 2022
10:00 – 11:30 BST
Thu, 8 December 2022
10:00 – 11:30 GMT
Thu, 7 April 2022
10:00 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 14 June 2022
10:00 – 12:00 BST
Thu, 15 September 2022
10:00 – 12:00 BST
Tue, 29 November 2022
10:00 – 12:00 GMT
SAFEcic's free hub resources by setting have been relocated to their new home and are now available through the SAFEcic.co.uk main menu. Alternately you can bookmark the links below:
The Government has launched the Stop Abuse Together Website
It’s estimated that one in ten children in England and Wales will experience sexual abuse before they turn sixteen. That’s equivalent to three in every classroom. Most children won’t tell anyone at the time of their abuse. That’s why it’s important for everyone to know how to spot the potential signs of child sexual abuse and where to go for support if concerned. The new website can help you learn to spot the signs, and have regular conversations with your child which can help keep them safe, and know when it’s right to reach out for more support.
If you feel something’s not right, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. No matter what’s happened, there’s always someone who will listen to you and take what you say seriously.
All children have a right to be safe from sexual abuse, and we all have a role to play in keeping them safe. Let’s stop abuse together
We can all play a part in protecting children and getting them the right help. That’s why it’s important to know how to spot the potential signs of child sexual abuse and where to go for support. The website brings together advice and resources to help you keep the children in your life safe.
Legislation & Bills
1. Domestic abuse victims in England and Wales to be given more time to report assaults in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021-2022
Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.
Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution. Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so, this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.
Meanwhile, taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison. It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm. Similar legislation introduced by the Government in 2019 that criminalised “upskirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.
2. The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill (PSTI) will require manufacturers, importers and distributors of digital tech which connects to the internet or other products to make sure they meet tough new cyber security standards - with heavy fines for those who fail to comply. It will allow the government to ban universal default passwords, force firms to be transparent to customers about what they are doing to fix security flaws in connectable products, and create a better public reporting system for vulnerabilities found in those products.
The Bill will also speed up the roll out of faster and more reliable broadband and mobile networks by making it easier for operators to upgrade and share infrastructure. The reforms will encourage quicker and more collaborative negotiations with landowners hosting the equipment, to reduce instances of lengthy court action which are holding
A recent investigation by Which? found a home filled with smart devices could be exposed to more than 12,000 hacking or unknown scanning attacks from across the world in a single week.
And, in the first half of 2021, there were 1.5 billion attempted compromises of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, double the 2020 figure. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre revealed it had dealt with an unprecedented number of cyber incidents over the past year.
Just one vulnerable device can put a user’s network at risk. In 2017, attackers infamously succeeded in stealing data from a North American casino via an internet-connected fish tank. In extreme cases hostile groups have taken advantage of poor security features to access people’s webcams.
Owners of consumer connectable products are encouraged to take action to ensure that they are using their devices safely, including following Cyber Aware guidance on improving online security. NCSC has also published guidance on using smart devices safely in the home.
England and Wales
1. Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act commence December 7 2021 to better protect patients in mental health settings over the inappropriate use of force.
- A new law will ensure better accountability and transparency over the use of force in mental health units
- New guidance published sets out clear advice to ensure NHS trusts comply with the law
- The act, known as Seni’s Law, is named after Olaseni Lewis who died as a result of being forcibly restrained in 2010
New guidance published today is statutory and will make sure trusts will have a clearer understanding on how to comply with the duties under the act
2. Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS): delay to implementation. The LPS were introduced by the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019. It will be the system that will authorise arrangements amounting to a deprivation of liberty in order to provide care or treatment to an individual who lacks the relevant mental capacity to consent to those arrangements, in England and Wales. The LPS were due to be implemented by April 2022, but this aim is now unfeasible. This letter sets out the reasons for the delay.
- Three-month consultation launched as new balance sought on human rights
- Permission stage proposed to deter spurious human rights claims
- Move to strengthen rights and restore public confidence in the system
- Proposed new legislation aims to strike a proper balance between individuals’ rights, personal responsibility and the wider public interest. This would be achieved while retaining the UK’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
The guidelines are designed to give clear advice to prosecutors who have been asked either for a charging decision or for early advice by the police. It is proposed that CPS homicide legal guidance should be updated to include reference to relevant public interest factors similar to those previously set out in the guidance for prosecutors in cases of encouraging or assisting suicide.
It is designed to give clear advice to prosecutors and to ensure there is transparent and consistent decision making across the CPS when considering these sensitive cases.
- if the victim was under 18;
- the victim lacked mental capacity to make an informed decision to end their life;
- the suspect had a history of violence or abuse against the victim;
- the suspect received a financial reward; or
- the suspect had a duty of care such as a doctor or nurse.
There are six factors where a prosecution would be less likely, including:
- if the victim had reached a voluntary, settled and informed decision to end their life;
- the suspect was wholly motivated by compassion;
- the suspect attempted to take their own life at the same time as part of a suicide pact; or
- the suspect reported the death to the police and fully assisted the authorities.
Although not an exhaustive list these factors and others will be considered when applying the public interest test in cases where prosecutors are satisfied there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
The consultation will end on Friday, 8 April.
3. The DBS statutory code of practice is designed to assist chief officers of police to provide the correct information for enhanced criminal record certificates.
This statutory code of practice followed on from a review of the criminal records regime conducted by Mrs Sunita Mason, formerly the Government’s Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management, and is issued under powers in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
It is designed to assist chief officers of police in making decisions about providing information from local police records for inclusion in enhanced criminal record certificates.
The first edition was effective from 10 September 2012 and the second edition, amended to include guidance on disclosing information relating to mental health, came into force on 10 August 2015.
The third edition, which has been amended to reflect recent court judgments, including the Supreme Court judgment in the case of P and others v SSHD & MOJ  UKSC 3, came into force on 16 November 2021.
4. A major review into the circumstances leading up to murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been launched by the Government to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with him in the months before he died.
The Government has separately commissioned four inspectorates, covering social care, health, police and probation to undertake an urgent inspection of the safeguarding agencies in Solihull to whom Arthur was known.
As part of this inspection, all the agencies tasked with protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect in Solihull will be subject to a Joint Targeted Area Inspection to consider their effectiveness and advise on where improvements must be made.
In addition to this, the independent, national review will identify the lessons that must be learnt from Arthur’s case for the benefit of other children elsewhere in England, to be led by the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
Together, these two actions will mean a deep, independent look at Arthur’s case, and the national lessons to be learnt; and a joined-up inspection of how all the local agencies involved are working, including how they are working together, to keep children safe nationally and locally.
Anyone who sees or suspects child abuse, or is worried about a child known to them, can report concerns to their local children’s services or by contacting the government-supported NSPCC helpline, which is for adults or practitioners concerned about a child or young person."
5. We don’t tell our teachers - Experiences of peer-on-peer sexual harassment among secondary school pupils in Wales considers the incidence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment in the lives of secondary-aged young people and reviews the culture and processes that help protect and support young people in secondary schools. Sexual harassment occurs when a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity; or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. The report makes 9 recommendations for schools:
Secondary schools should:
- R1 Recognise that peer-on-peer sexual harassment is highly prevalent in the lives of young pupils and adopt a whole-school preventative and proactive approach to dealing with it. This importantly includes providing pupils with assurance that school staff will take every incidence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment seriously and work in partnership with parents and external agencies.
- R2 Provide sufficient, cumulative and beneficial learning opportunities for pupils across the whole age range about healthy relationships, sex and sexuality education. This includes providing a safe, enabling and supportive environment for open and honest discussions.
- R3 Improve the way they record, categorise and analyse incidences of harassment and bullying. Records should include details about the nature and type of incidences, the impact on the victim and appropriate actions in response to both perpetrators and victims. Leaders should ensure they review records regularly and evaluate the impact of their actions on pupils’ wellbeing.
- R4 Ensure all school staff receive regular and purposeful professional learning opportunities on personal and social education matters, including relationships, sexuality, diversity and gender transitioning. This is so that they are able to provide an affirmative, proactive approach to supporting pupils as they grow and develop into young adults.
Local authorities should:
- R5 Work with schools to collect and categorise and analyse all bullying and harassment data correctly and comprehensively. In addition, support schools to analyse this information regularly to identify trends and put restorative arrangements in place.
- R6 Plan suitable intervention and support on gender issues at both school and local authority level, evaluating regularly their impact on pupil wellbeing.
- R7 Provide school staff with the necessary professional learning to adopt a proactive approach to peer-on-peer sexual harassment, including homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic bullying and harassment.
The Welsh Government should:
- R8 Work with local authorities to improve the way they collect bullying and harassment information from schools and ensure that local authorities identify and respond to patterns and trends in behaviour. This is in order to plan suitable guidance, training and support for schools.
- R9 Ensure schools receive regular and informative updates on best practice and suitable resources that are available to support them in the delivery of relationships and sexuality education.
6. Self-harm is everyone’s business, NICE says in new draft guidelines
All professionals working across the health and social care system have a role to play in supporting people who self-harm and the issue should not just be seen as the responsibility of those with mental health expertise.
In the first new guideline for 11 years looking at self-harm, the independent NICE committee has drawn up new recommendations for people working in settings from primary care to psychiatry. The assessment, management and preventing recurrence of self-harm guideline provides information, for the first time, for people working in education and criminal justice settings.
The new guideline sets out the responsibilities of non-mental health specialists when caring for people who self-harm. This includes health and social care professionals working in primary care, non-mental health emergency department professionals, those working in general hospital settings and in social care. There are also recommendations for ambulance staff and paramedics. The guideline calls for non-specialists who have provided initial care to organise a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, at the earliest opportunity after an episode of self-harm, and that this should be carried out by a specialist mental health professional.
The aim of the comprehensive psychosocial assessment is to:
- develop a relationship with the person
- begin to understand why the person has self-harmed
- ensure that the person receives the care they need
- gives the person and their family members or carers information about their condition and diagnosis.
Self-harm is defined as intentional self-poisoning or injury irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act.
Only a minority of people who have self-harmed present to hospital services, but it remains one of the commonest reasons for hospital attendance. Some estimates suggest upwards of 200,000 presentations in England every year, the majority for self-poisoning.
While prevalence statistics are unreliable because it is a problem that is sometimes hidden, a recent national study reported that 7.3% of girls, and 3.6% of boys, aged 11 to 16, had self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point. The figures for 17- to 19-year-olds were 21.5% for girls and 9.7% for boys.
Self-harm can occur at any age, but there is evidence that there has been a recent increase in self-harm among young people in England.
For some people, self-harm is a one-off episode but repetition is also common, with 20% of people repeating self-harm within a year.
People who have self-harmed are at greatly increased risk of suicide, with a 30- to 50-fold increase in risk in the year after hospital presentation.
A public consultation has now begun on the recommendations via nice.org.uk until Tuesday 1 March.
7. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Pathologists and Royal College of Ophthalmologists sets out clarity on the examination of the eyes in a sudden unexpected death of a child (SUDIC).
The report, ‘Sudden unexpected death in infancy and childhood: Multi-agency guidelines for care and investigation’ (known as the Kennedy Report) in 2016 was developed by a working group convened by the Royal College of Pathologists and endorsed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The report provides guidelines for all professions involved in the examination of sudden unexpected death of a child and outlines best practice for each part of the investigation process. The original guidelines published in 2004 followed high profile cases of miscarriages of justice involving the prosecution of mothers for causing the deaths of their babies. These events raised serious concerns about the role of the expert witness in court, issues about standards of proof, the quality of evidence and about the procedures adopted for the investigation of sudden unexpected deaths of infants.
The expectation is that the clinician records what it is possible to see, including the presence or absence of retinal haemorrhages in each eye, with an accompanying proviso about their degree of expertise and that they are unable to make any comment on the interpretation of significance. Other professionals will use this information to help inform the most appropriate next steps in the investigation process of the child’s death.
Retinal haemorrhages in living infants are generally accepted to be a possible indicator of abusive head trauma. Although there are a number of alternative aetiologies, retinal haemorrhages are such an important feature of child abuse, they require evaluation within the context of a thorough clinical assessment. In many cases, a clear view of the retina may not be possible due to corneal clouding following death.
Little has been published on ophthalmological examination in the early post mortem period. However, the presence of multiple retinal haemorrhages could imply that the infant has died of unnatural causes. The detection of retinal haemorrhages immediately post mortem, particularly where there are no other immediately obvious concerning features of unnatural death, may lead to a formal forensic post mortem process. Importantly, this will include the engagement of a forensic pathologist to perform the autopsy and the initiation of the process that adequately protects any living siblings.
Worthy of Note
1. Star Hobson Trial Verdict - Statement from Bradford Council
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Star’s murder and the telling of how she died through the trial has been shocking and deeply upsetting. The photographs of her we have all seen in the press show a little girl who deserved the best in life but was subject to the worst treatment. Her murder should not extinguish the memory of her life. We remember Star’s life and our thoughts are with those who did love and care for her.
“The verdict is out and those who caused Star’s death have been convicted - one has been convicted of murder and one of causing or allowing the death of a child.
“Star was let down and we all want to know if anything could have been done differently. The Bradford Partnership, which includes all the agencies in Bradford district involved in protecting children, has already commissioned an independent Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review to answer this question. Now the trial is complete, this review will be concluded and published next month. We want to make sure that Star’s case also informs the national inquiry that has been launched as a result of the shocking murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
“Social workers in our district support a great many children and young people and carry out work in circumstances that are often very challenging. It is essential therefore that lessons are learned from Star’s terrible death so that we can better protect our children.”
2. Following the CQC Out of sight – who cares? report, published in October last year it makes recommendations to support changes in care for people with a learning disability, autistic people, and people with mental ill health. The CQC has now published a progress report to highlight what has been achieved so far and which areas need more focus
- The health and care system has taken action to understand the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people in inpatient units
- It has also made a commitment to increase the range of community support available to help prevent hospital admissions
- The commitment around increasing community support needs to be converted into real change
- Commissioning the right support and services for people with a learning disability and autistic people is not happening quickly enough
- People are still being placed in services which are not able to give them the right care
3. In a hearing at Sheffield Magistrate’s Court, Shahjan Yasmin Hussain, Chair of Trustees; Dr Shathea Zamzam, Manager; and Yorkshire Tuition Centre have admitted to running an unregistered school. The case was heard on 5 January 2022 and is the latest successful prosecution of those running unregistered schools.
Deputy Senior District Judge, Tanweer Ikram, made a clear judgement that the defendants in charge “wanted to carry on under the radar without the requirement of regulation”.
The illegal school, Aysha Tuition Centre (ATC), was located at premises previously used by a registered private school, Oak Tree High (OTH), which had closed because it was failing to provide pupils with a good education. Ofsted inspectors found ATC was operating on the same site and employing many of the same staff as OTH to teach former pupils of the failed private school.
ATC was investigated by Ofsted’s unregistered schools, taskforce during 2021. Inspectors found evidence that the setting, which claimed to be a tuition centre, was in reality providing up to 28 children with full-time education.
Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said:
"This case shows the length some people will go to side-step the law and mislead parents into believing they can provide their children with a good education. Many of the children at this illegal school were allegedly being home educated. But, in fact they were receiving all of their education at the Centre. Cases like this are why I have long called for a register for children who are being home educated – so we can know where they are and that they’re getting a good education. We also urgently need legislation to be strengthened so that we can take strong action against illegal schools and close them down."
The sentence handed down by Judge Ikram included:
- £500 fine for Yorkshire Tuition Centre, a charitable trust which oversaw the illegal school, ATC
- Hussain and Zamzami to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work and be subject to a community order for 18 months
- £500 contribution to be paid between the 3 defendants toward the cost of the prosecution
The things I wish my parents had known…Young people’s advice on talking to your child about online sexual harassment is a guide for parents and carers on online sexual harassment and how they can support
It draws together advice from 16-21-year-olds on how parents should manage tricky conversations around sexual harassment and access to inappropriate content, including pornography.
An overriding message is that parents should start these challenging conversations early. Our focus groups suggest broaching topics before a child is given a phone or a social media account, which is often around the age of 9 or 10. The guide focuses on issues such as:
- Easily accessed online pornography
- Pressure to send nude pictures
- Sexualised bullying
- Editing pictures and body image
- Peer pressure
The Reason to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding
1. A man has been jailed for two years and eight months for child sex offences and impersonating a police officer.
Jordan Ellis, 27, was working as a care assistant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital when he was arrested.
He was suspended but sent a letter to his work purporting to be from a police officer stating no further action was being taken against him.
Ellis pleaded guilty to all charges at Norwich Crown Court.
He admitted four counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, one count of making indecent images of a child and two counts of fraud.
Norfolk Police said officers searched Ellis's home on 17 June 2019 after receiving intelligence.
Ellis, of Benbow Close, Norwich, was using a messaging service to engage in chats of a sexual nature with children, the force said.
He was suspended from his hospital job and his voluntary role with St John Ambulance during the investigation.
In November 2019, he emailed both organisations attaching a letter purporting to be from a police officer stating no further action was being taken against him, in a bid to be reinstated in the roles.
Both organisations thought the letter was suspicious and Ellis was arrested on suspicion of fraud on 4 December.
Det Con Amy Nunn said: "This has been a complicated job with Ellis taking many steps to try and hide his offending.
"The predatory nature of this individual has been exposed and the risk he poses to children can now be managed."
2. Serious sexual offender sentenced to 32 years after being found guilty of 158 offences. An online blackmailer who forced children to engage in sexual activity and sold that material on has been sentenced to 32 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
Abdul Elahi, 26, contacted nearly 2,000 people worldwide and abused at least 72 victims. On 7 May 2021, Elahi pleaded guilty to a total of 158 offences. Elahi targeted extremely vulnerable women and children on the internet and persuaded them to take pictures and videos of them performing sexual and degrading acts in return for money. He singled out victims who were in debt or too young to legitimately be on the sites. He would then sell the photos and videos to others worldwide.
The extent to Elahi’s offences was described in the court as being in a league of their own when it came to the number of offences committed. He also taught others how to abuse women and young children, and that many people tried to use his material as a way of attacking the same victims.
As part of the investigation, the CPS collaborated internationally with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America, and the New Zealand and Australian police in conjunction with the NCA in the UK.
Sarah Ingram, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division, said: “The extent of the depraved and sickening offences that Elahi committed is truly shocking. He manipulated vulnerable women and children for his personal gain, and his actions led others to do the same.
“He has ruined the lives of his victims, and it is right that he has been sentenced today to the full extent of the law for his crimes.”
The CPS worked with the NCA to prove that as many as 550 women in the UK were targeted by Elahi.
The CPS has also identified and prosecuted numerous people who Elahi distributed his content to in the UK. Two individuals were prosecuted alongside Elahi, and one male awaits trial. This man is alleged to have been taught by Elahi how to carry out acts of blackmail and abuse, and he put that into action.
3. A former Deputy Headteacher in Wigan and her partner have been jailed for sexual offences against children, on Wednesday 22 December, following an extensive investigation by Merseyside Police. On Thursday 2 September, police executed a warrant at David Morris’ address on Sandfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens, and seized his phone and computer and other digital equipment. He was arrested on suspicion of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, questioned by police and bailed with conditions. The following day, Friday 3 September, Merseyside Police received information regarding David Morris and Julie Morris having committed sexual offences against a child, it was further reported the couple were planning to abscond. Officers acted immediately and located Julie and David Morris at an address in Hindley. The couple were found to be in possession of £10,000 cash and their campervan was packed with their belongings indicating that they were about to abscond. Both were arrested on suspicion of rape and were questioned by police before being charged and remanded in custody. The police’s thorough analysis of 175,000 pages of chat logs, spanning across three years, revealed the couple’s sexual interest in young children. Julie Morris, who was Deputy Headteacher at a primary school in Tyldesley, Wigan, also sent photographs of children at her school to David Morris. These photographs were not indecent, or criminal in nature, and there is no evidence that any of the children were harmed. None of the offences Julie Morris has been jailed for relate to her employment. Merseyside Police and Wigan Council, the local education authority (LEA), have worked together holding a number of multi-agency meetings, and Wigan Council took swift action by terminating Julie Morris’ contract in September 2021.After pleading guilty at Liverpool Crown Court today, Julie Morris, 44, of Ancroft Drive, Hindley was jailed for 13 years, four months, plus four years on extended licence, in relation to two counts of rape of a child under 13, sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual acts, taking indecent photographs of a child, sexual communications with a child and possession of indecent images of children. Following an earlier guilty plea, David Morris, 52, of Sandfield Road, Eccleston, was sentenced to 16 years, plus four years on extended licence, in relation to seven counts of rape of a child under 13, sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, sexual communications with a child, taking indecent photographs of a child, possession of indecent images of a child, distribution of indecent images of a child, possession of prohibited images of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images and voyeurism. Both Julie and David Morris were also given indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and will sign the sex offenders' register for life. of sexual abuse, or anyone who knows of a child being abused, to come forward and report this to police.
4. A man from London has been convicted of possessing over 800 indecent images of children, after he admitted owning stun guns and pepper spray. A former BBC producer has been found guilty of possessing indecent images of children following a National Crime Agency investigation. Victor Melleney, 76, who previously worked on programmes such as Panorama and Question time, also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to four counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.
He was arrested by NCA officers at his Kensington flat in October 2018. The weapons – three tasers and a pepper spray – were recovered following a search of the flat and his Porsche. Officers also seized Melleney’s laptop and iPad from this address. An external hard drive, which he initially attempted to hide in his pocket, was recovered at his house close by in Holland Park.
His devices contained over 800 images and videos of child sexual abuse (categories A-C) and he had downloaded four different Peer 2 Peer file sharing applications onto them. Analysis showed that the keywords he used to search for the material included “PTHC” (Pre-Teen Hard Core), “Preteen” and “11 yo”.
In March 2019, NCA officers executed a warrant at another of Melleney’s properties in West Wittering, Chichester, as intelligence showed that he had also accessed child abuse material from the address in the month prior to his arrest. Today at Kingston Crown Court, Melleney was found guilty of possessing indecent images of children. He will be sentenced for this, along with the prohibited weapons offences, on 14 January 2022 at the same court.
5. Cyber voyeur hacked computers to spy on victims. A man from Nottingham has been jailed for more than two years after he admitted illegally accessing a number of victims’ devices to spy on them and build a collection of indecent images of both children and adults.
Robert Davies, 32, came to the attention of National Crime Agency investigators in 2019 after he purchased a number of cybercrime tools, including crypters and remote administration tools (RATs).
He was also identified as a customer of weleakinfo, an online market place selling stolen credentials, which was taken offline last year following an NCA-led investigation.
Davies was infecting his victims’ phones or computers with malicious software by disguising it with the crypters so their anti-virus protection would not detect it. He then used the RATs to gain remote access to their devices and steal any sexual images (mainly of females) they had stored on there.
On at least one occasion, he used his illegal access to spy on a teenage girl through her webcam, turning the encounter into a number of indecent images. Officers recovered this, along with a further 27 indecent images and videos of children, on his computer.
Davies was also using numerous fake online profiles to mask his identity and contact his victims on various messaging apps, in an attempt to build a relationship with them and attack their devices using links sent through the chats. There was evidence that he had been doing this over a number of years.
In total NCA officers identified and visited over 30 victims of Davies throughout the course of the investigation.
He was arrested three times between November 2019 and August 2021, each time being charged with further offences as officers analysed his devices and the true scale of his offending came to light.
On 2 September, Davies pleaded guilty to 24 Computer Misuse Act offences, voyeurism, three counts of possessing indecent images of children (IIOC), making IIOC and possessing extreme pornographic images.
He was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to 26 months in prison. He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register, given 10 year restraining order on five of the victims and a 10 years sexual harm prevention order.
Operation Stovewood: Investigators launch new appeal for victims and witnesses to come forward
National Crime Agency officers have launched a new appeal for potential victims to come forward as part of Operation Stovewood - their investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse in and around Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.The appeal will see a series of appeals on social media, plus leaflets and posters placed in community and public buildings around the Rotherham area. Philip Marshall, the NCA’s Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Stovewood, said: “Our work at Operation Stovewood continues with more than 30 investigations underway and over one thousand nominated victims identified. “It is a lengthy and complex process and we expect our work to continue for some years yet. As an Agency we are determined to do everything in our power to reach out to those victims or witnesses who are yet to come forward, and that is what this new appeal is all about.
“We recognise that this can be, for some, a difficult step to take but I offer reassurance to victims that they will be listened to and offered the appropriate support by the NCA and our partners. ” Operation Stovewood is the single largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse (CSA) in the UK. It has so far seen more than 200 suspects arrested, with 20 people convicted and jail terms totalling almost 250 years handed down.”
More charges are expected to be brought in 2022.
Philip Marshall added:
“Our three key objectives remain; focusing on the victims, identifying and bringing offenders to justice, and rebuilding public confidence. More than 200 officers are working on Operation Stovewood, and they are as determined as ever to meet those objectives and get the best possible outcome for those victims.”
Potential victims and witnesses can contact the team via the NCA website or by calling the NCA Control Centre on 0370 496 7622 quoting Op Stovewood.