Webcam abuser’s jail term branded ‘slap on wrists’

Paedophile Francis Knight
Paedophile Francis Knight
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THE parents of children abused over the internet by a paedophile have hit out at the jail sentence given to him.

Francis Knight, 31, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, admitted contacting up to 250 children online in a bid to carry out his sick fantasies via a webcam.

He pretended to be teenage girls and urged boys as young as nine to perform sex acts into a webcam.

He made up and cloned personas, leaving a trail of devastation for the victims and their families.

As reported, he has been jailed for a total of 16 months for 17 charges – which included making indecent photographs of children. But he will only serve half the sentence.

And, because he has been on remand for two months already, he could be out in six months.

The stepfather of one of the youngest victims – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – said: ‘All it is is a slap on the wrists. He was let out on bail and offended eight more times. What’s going to stop him doing it again when he comes out?

‘I was expecting four to six years but whatever he got would never be enough.

‘My stepson has good days and bad days but he wets himself now and does not want to sleep alone.’

The mother of a boy who was 13 at the time of the abuse – which took place last year – said her son went off the rails.

She said: ‘Knight will be out in eight months at the most. It’s disgusting, just shocking.

‘The other mums are devastated too. We don’t feel justice has been done.’

‘My son is in counselling now. He has had a bit of trouble at school where he has gone off the rails, but he has managed to turn it around lately.

‘When it was all going on his behaviour hit rock bottom and he lashed out. He felt really angry.’

The maximum sentence for inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity is 14 years.

But Judge John Dixon said the circumstances did not fit the sentencing guidelines.

Knight was sentenced to 16 months each for 10 counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in a sexual act; 16 months each for four counts of causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in a sexual act; 12 months for attempting to incite a child in sexual activity, 28 days for the first count of making indecent photographs of a child and six weeks for the second count.

The sentences will run concurrently.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and has been banned from working with children.