Why was registered sex offender Matthew Stansfield able to carry out horrific paedophile offences?

UPDATE: Missing St James’ Hospital patient found

  • Paedophile Matthew Stansfield, from Gosport, has been jailed for ten years after sexually abusing children under five
  • He was one of seven people sentenced yesterday following the operation by seven UK police forces and the National Crime Agency
  • His length of his sentence was questioned after it was revealed he has already been registered as a sex offender
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QUESTIONS have been asked as to why an evil paedophile already registered as a sex offender was able to carry out ‘abhorrent’ crimes on young children.

Matthew Stansfield, from Gosport, was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday along with six others.

Paedophile Matthew Stansfield was, along with six other men, found guilty of plotting sex crimes against children

Paedophile Matthew Stansfield was, along with six other men, found guilty of plotting sex crimes against children

But a charity which helps victims of crime raised concerns on how he was able to carry out the ‘horrific crimes’.

Steve Mote, manager for Victim Support in Hampshire, said: ‘The crimes committed by the individuals sentenced are abhorrent.

‘The fact that three of these men were already registered sex offenders and have gone on to carry out such horrific crimes is of grave concern.

‘Steps must be taken to ensure that people who have committed offences of this nature are carefully monitored in order to minimise the risk of reoffending.’

Your thoughts and deeds are beyond human instinct and reason, and are evil beyond rational understanding.

Judge Julian Lambert

A former classmate of Stansfield said she was shocked by the leniency of the sentence, considering the 35-year-old already appearing on the sex offenders’ register. The pair attended Gosport schools Newton Primary and Bay House together.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I am shocked that he only received 10 years. To me, that is quite a lenient sentence given his past as a sex offender.’

Stansfield was one of three men from the gang, aged 31 to 51, that were already on the sex offenders’ register.

The woman added: ‘I thought the fact he was on the register would mean a longer sentence. It definitely seems too lenient when you think about what he was involved in.’

The woman, who volunteers for a charity which helps rehabilitate sex offenders, said 10 years does not seem long enough to get him the help he needs.

‘When you see how he escalated from pictures, to watching videos, to doing the abuse I am not sure 10 years can provide him with the help he needs,’ she said.

‘I don’t think someone like him could change in that short time.’

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Judge says gang deserve no mercy

Investigator tells how paedophiles were caught

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In total, the offenders were jailed for 78 years.

Stansfield met with two of the other convicted men Robin Hollyson, 31, from Bedfordshire, and Christopher Knight, 35, from Manchester, in February 2014.

Later on in the year, in May, Stansfield met Hollyson again and Adam Toms, 33, from Somerset, to rape and sexually assault a baby, with the incident filmed and shared.

A video from July 2014 shows Hollyson abusing the baby, while chat logs reveal Hollyson and Stansfield conspired to rape the boy in July and August 2014.

The other offenders jailed yesterday were John Denham, 50, from Wiltshire, David Harsley, 51, from Yorkshire, and Matthew Lisk, 33, from Sussex.

The court heard the men preyed on the families of youngsters to gain access to them and, in one case, groomed a mother and father before their baby was born.

They travelled hundreds of miles to carry out the attacks or used internet streaming to provide encouragement and directions to those abusing victims.

Stansfield’s former classmate added: ‘A lot of people from school who I have stayed in touch with were deeply shocked when the details of the case came out.

‘I couldn’t believe it. Matthew was so friendly and at primary school, all the girls loved him. He was never odd or strange.’

Sentencing the gang at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Julian Lambert said their actions had made people ‘feel physically sick’.

He said: ‘In the worst nightmare, from the very deepest recesses of the mind, at the darkest hour of the night, few can have imagined the terrifying depravity which you men admit.

‘What you contemplated and what you did involved the most horrific abuse of a baby and very young children.

‘Your thoughts and deeds are beyond human instinct and reason, and are evil beyond rational understanding.

‘You men indulged yourselves in some of the most depraved and grossly deviant behaviour imaginable. The depth to which you sank is astounding and highly shocking to all decent people.’

Judge Lambert added: ‘What you did is contrary to all nature and humanity and you each appear to have a chilling tendency to centre the world on yourselves and your depraved desires without regard for the innocent and vulnerable.

‘Your conduct is of deep concern to the public and people are outraged at what you have done. What you did provokes tears in many and makes others feel physically sick.

‘Given the strength of public feeling I consider that retribution has a very large part to play in the sentencing exercise.’

n Hollyson was jailed for 24 years.

n Toms was jailed for 12 years.

n Knight was jailed for 18 years.

n Denham was jailed for eight years.

n Lisk was jailed for four years.

n Harsley was jailed for two years.

They were all placed on the sex offenders’ register for life, except for Harsley. The number of years he will be on the register is yet to be determined by the judge.

The family of one of the victims said: ‘No family ever wants to find that their child has been the victim of abuse, nor would they ever knowingly put their child at risk.

‘As a family we now need to mend. Seeing the perpetrators being brought to justice is the first step.’

The offences were uncovered as part of Operation Voicer. Seven UK police forces worked with the National Crime Agency and detectives around the world to bring the men to justice.

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