Police swooped on a family home after a dad live-streamed a video of himself sexually abusing his two-year-old daughter. Government agents initiated emergency procedures to trace the house in West Yorkshire and arrest the dad after he attempted to share the shocking images with strangers in an internet chatroom.
Leeds Crown Court heard how the dad abused the child at their home in Pontefract while his partner, the child’s mother, was at hospital visiting a sick relative.
The dad, aged in his 20s, installed instant messaging app Wickr and a browser which enabled him to access the dark web before carrying out the offending.
Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said: “He took that opportunity to go into (the child’s) bedroom, ensure she was naked, and then prepare to broadcast her abuse, in order to obtain other pictures from other abusers.
“He entered a chatroom entitled ‘#daughter’ with a group display name of ‘dad page’.
“The name of the chatroom is an explicit reference to the subject matter discussed within it and the username the defendant adopted – daddydau22 – is equally explicit as to his status.”
The defendant messaged someone he believed to be a paedophile.
They discussed the child’s age and exchanging sexually explicit images of children.
The dad than transmitted a 40-second video of the child sitting on her bed in which he exposed her genital area.
Mr Sharp said: “The defendant then waited for the other user to reciprocate.
“He sent repeated messages over several minutes: ‘How long”; “Please hurry: “Have you gone?”.
“Mercifully for (the child), the other user was in fact a government agent.
“Having stalled the defendant for a while and broken off contact, he initiated emergency contact procedures to identify the defendant’s whereabouts.”
West Yorkshire Police were contacted and the dad was arrested at the property.
He initially denied any offending when interviewed by police then refused to comment when confronted with evidence.
He pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, three counts of taking indecent photographs of a child and three of distributing indecent photographs of a child.
The child’s mother provided a victim statement to the court.
She said: “It’s hard to know what to say or where to begin to describe how all this has affected my family.
“One of the hardest things is thinking you’ve known someone for 13 years and then realising that you actually don’t know them at all.
“There was a dark side to him that nobody had any idea about.
“When (the defendant) was first arrested, it’s fair to say that I didn’t believe what the police were saying.
“I thought I knew (the defendant) inside and out and never thought he would be capable of doing something like that.
“It’s really hard to put into words all that I’ve been feeling for the six months since he was arrested.
“I have been through phases of not believing and being in denial.
“Then it will hit me and I’ll be angry with him for doing this to (the child), and doing this to us.
“I hate living in my house now.
“Everything here reminds me of (the defendant).
“It was our family home and we were happy, now I feel sick every time I go into our bedroom because I know that’s where it happened.
“I can’t sleep and I hate being in the house by myself because I know that is where it happened.
“It is hard to know how this will affect (the child) as she gets older.
“How do I tell her the real reason she doesn’t see her dad?
“I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it but I don’t want her to be messed up because of what he did to her.
“At the moment she’s a happy little toddler, and it breaks my heart to think of what he did to her.
“I now know without doubt exactly what (the defendant) did to (the child) and I am pleased he was caught.
“(The child) has been saved from any further abuse he might have put her through.
“I will never get back with (the defendant) and will do whatever I can to protect my children.”
Christopher Morton, mitigating, said his client had no previous convictions and pleaded guilty to the offending at an early stage.
He said: “He was a hardworking father and husband.
“He was actually respected by his peers and his employers and his family.
“His offending has come as a great shock to everybody who knows him.
“Nobody, the defendant included, has been able to explain how he involved himself to this degree of offending.”
The defendant was jailed for four and a half years.
Imposing the sentence, Recorder Simon Eckersley said: “Rather than protect her, you harmed her. You abused her sexually at that tender age and did so because of your own sexual interest in children and your desire to share those perverted urges with complete strangers. I hope one day you will realise just how disgraceful and despicable your behaviour to your daughter was. You knew what you were doing was very, very wrong. This took place while your partner was visiting an ill relative in hospital. She expected you to look after her daughter. Your daughter.
“There are multiple victims in this case. I have heard a very eloquent document from your partner. You have ruined your family. That is your fault and we simply do not know what impact this will have on your daughter.”
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