‘High risk’ Dark Web Pedophile Caught with Sickening Images of Young Boys

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Updated August 17th, 2021

Serial sex offender Matthew Worthington is back behind bars after he was caught with sickening images of young boys.

The 28-year-old was previously jailed after he went to a park to meet a ‘13-year-old boy’ he met online after police set up a fake Facebook profile.

But since then Worthington – who admits having disturbing sexual fantasies involving children – has repeatedly breached a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) aimed at keeping youngsters safe.

Among a catalogue of offences included:

  • possessing indecent images of boys aged nine and 10
  • contacting a 15-year-old boy
  • accessing the dark web
  • failing to tell police he had internet-enabled phones
  • deleting 2,901 files and
  • installing programs to prevent anyone checking his internet history

Now Worthington, formerly of Hanley, has been jailed for 52 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Prosecutor Philip Astbury said the defendant is considered to be a high risk sex offender by Staffordshire Police and is ‘monitored accordingly’.

Mr Astbury said: “He treats the order with contempt.

“On August 12 he sent an email to the sex offender management unit to say he had a Sony mobile. Police visited him at the hostel where he was residing on September 1 and inspected the device.

“They attended again on September 14 and the defendant confirmed it was the only item he had capable of accessing the internet.

“Police returned on September 21 and he claimed he had accidentally damaged the Sony and replaced it with an Acer device with the same SIM card as the Sony.

“Two days later, on September 23, they returned and he said he had to throw away the Sony device. He said he’d accidentally smashed it after police visited and had to throw it away. He claimed the police told him he could do so. That was not true.

“Police recovered the phone from the communal bins. It was analysed and the analysis revealed why the defendant had been so anxious to dispose of the device. 2,901 files had been deleted from the phone. The analysis revealed two category A indecent images of boys aged nine and 10.

“He had installed a number of applications including a browser which provides privacy. It had been used to access the dark web by the user.”

Mr Astbury said the handset had been used to access the internet on September 22 – the day after Worthington claimed it was broken. CCTV showed him throwing it in the bins within an hour of the last internet access.

Police visited the defendant at the hostel on November 20 and officers seized a Samsung phone. An analysis of the device showed he had used a ‘browser onion’ to access the dark web and provide the user with anonymity.

Mr Astbury said the defendant handed police a SIM card on October 9 which he had forgotten to notify them about. It had been used in a Samsung Galaxy phone.

On November 2 police examined his phone and noticed the defendant had been in contact with a 15-year-old boy in Scotland.

Mr Astbury added: “Three indecent images were present on the defendant’s handset. They had been sent to the defendant on November 9.”

Worthington, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to nine offences of breaching a SHPO and two offences of possessing indecent images of children.

Barry White, mitigating, said the defendant is open about his sexual interests.

He said: “He clearly understands what he is doing is wrong. He tells me he wants help.”
Judge David Fletcher said: “What is really concerning is the frequency you have continued to breach the order.

“The breaches were determined and persistent. You seemed to think you were cleverer than they but you were not.

“You did make contact with someone who was under the age of 18.

“These were pertinent and persistent breaches of the order.”

Worthington is subject to a SHPO until further order and remains on the sex offenders’ register.

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Written by L Walker

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