Detectives from North Yorkshire Police’s Online Abuse & Exploitation Team have helped to secure justice against a Boroughbridge man accused of indecent images of children offences.
Geoffrey Crowther, aged 72, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment at York Crown Court today (Wednesday 26 August 2020) after previously pleading guilty to four charges, including:
- making four indecent images of children in the most serious Category A, between 14 June 2017 and 14 November 2018
- making three indecent images of children in Category B during the same period
- making 10 indecent images of children in Category C during the same period
- taking indecent images of a child in Category C between 30 April 2017 and 14 November 2018 – these relate to first generation images which Crowther took secretly of a three-year-old girl on two different smart phones
The self-employed heavy goods vehicle driver has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register, meaning he will be closely monitored for the rest of his life.
Background to the investigation
Acting on intelligence about suspicious website activity linked to Crowther, the Online Abuse & Exploitation Team arrested him on 13 November 2018 and carried out a search warrant at his home address.
Numerous telephones and other devices were seized for examination by the force’s Digital Forensics Unit.
Following a long-running investigation led by Detective Constable Fiona Saunderson, Crowther was charged on 1 April 2020 and pleaded guilty to the offences at York Crown Court on 9 July 2020.
Safeguarding measures have been put in place regarding the youngster whose photograph was taken by Crowther. Police are satisfied there have been no any contact offences against the girl.
North Yorkshire Police statement
DC Fiona Saunderson, of the Online Abuse & Exploitation Team, said: “Geoffrey Crowther did something unthinkable by taking indecent images of a young child. His despicable actions were a grotesque breach of trust which has devastated lives.”
She said Crowther has shown genuine remorse since his initial arrest, but he had subsequently not been forthcoming about what was contained on his digital devices.
Further offending images were then uncovered by the digital examination of his devices.
“In his police interviews,” added DC Saunderson, “Crowther claimed he did not have a sexual interest in children. But when presented with the evidence he admitted to taking indecent photographs of a three-year-old girl.
“Again, he stated he got no sexual gratification from them and that he had deleted the photos immediately.
“Despite his continued denials that he has a sexual interest in children, all the evidence – including his very specific online search history – suggests otherwise.
“Crowther still hasn’t properly explained why he has been taking and making and indecent images of children.”
Reporting suspected crimes and seeking help regarding indecent images of children and sexual abuse
- Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response
- Crimestoppers – 0800 55511 – crimestoppers-uk.org – anonymous reporting
- Child Exploitation Online Protection command (CEOP) – http://ceop.police.uk/
- Internet Watch Foundation – https://www.iwf.org.uk/
- Marie Collins Foundation – mariecollinsfoundation.org.uk – support for children and young people who have been abused via the internet and mobile technologies
- Stop it Now! – www.stopitnow.org.uk – Helpline 0808 1000 900 – confidential help and support for people who concerned about their or someone else’s thoughts and behaviour towards children
- Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email email@example.com or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/
- You can also contact the Supporting Victims Unit direct at www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100
- NSPCC Helplines: Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 8005000; Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support; Childline is available for young people on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk