29 September 2017
A man from Hampshire has been given a ten year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) after watching the sexual abuse of a four-year old girl via an online video streaming forum.
Gareth Gascoigne-Leopold, 35, from Tadley, Hampshire was one of six individuals from the UK who logged into the forum while the abuse was streamed live for a global audience in December 2015.
He was arrested as he landed at Gatwick airport having travelled back from Spain in December 2016.
On the 4th July 2017, he 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.
He was sentenced today to five years in prison – suspended for two years. In addition to his SHPO, Gascoigne-Leopold 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. Individuals are utilising the platform to stream the live and pre-recorded sexual abuse of child victims and also to share and view indecent imagery.
The other five individuals from the UK identified at the same time as Gascoigne-Leopold have been arrested, and are now at various stages of the criminal justice system.
Sentencing him at Lewes Crown Court today, Judge Recorder Swirsky told Gascoigne-Leopold 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”.