REGIONAL: Hampshire man watched girl, four, being sexually abused online

editorial image

£4m cuts to be made in city budget

0
Have your say

A Hampshire man has been convicted after watching a four-year-old girl being sexually abused via an online video streaming forum.

Gareth Gascoigne-Leopold, 35, was one of six people from the UK who logged into the forum while the abuse was streamed live for a global audience in December 2015.

The abuse this little girl suffered was unimaginable. That it was also streamed live around the world makes it even more horrific.

Graham Ellis, from the NCA’s CEOP Command

He was arrested as he landed at Gatwick Airport having travelled back from Spain in December last year.

On July 4 Gascoigne-Leopold, from Tadley, was charged with intentionally encouraging and/or assisting the commission of an offence, possessing an extreme pornographic image, possessing an indecent photograph/ pseudo-photograph and possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Today he was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended for two years, and was given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

He was also ordered to attend a rehabilitation course and get internet sex offender’s treatment.

The girl, from Denmark, has since been identified and safeguarded by authorities and the offender arrested.

Gascoigne-Leopold’s arrest forms part of a wider NCA-led investigation into the streaming of child sexual abuse through an online video conferencing platform.

The other five people from the UK identified at the same time as Gascoigne-Leopold have been arrested.

Sentencing Gascoigne-Leopold at Lewes Crown Court today, Judge Recorder Swirsky told him the ‘images you watched were vile and the children involved are likely to be scarred for life’.

Graham Ellis, from the NCA’s CEOP Command, said: ‘The abuse this little girl suffered was unimaginable. That it was also streamed live around the world makes it even more horrific.

‘The individuals who were logged into the forum to watch this abuse thought they would remain anonymous. But they thought wrong – there is no hiding place.

‘Using all the powers and means available to us, we will identify and locate those who seek to exploit children for their own sexual pleasure and bring them to justice.’