April 2018

Paedophile snared by online team jailed for more than nine years

Mark Baber

A prolific paedophile who was snared by an online team who posed as children has been jailed for over nine years.

Mark Baber, 43, was duped by ‘paedophile hunters’ after attempting to engage in sexual activity with what he thought were children via online chat rooms before he was brought to justice, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

The conviction comes after it was widely reported earlier this month that evidence gained from paedophile hunters was used to charge suspects in England and Wales on at least 150 occasions last year.

Baber’s predatory attempts in December last year were exposed after he sent crude messages and sexually graphic pictures as he looked to secure encounters with children using his dark ‘high speed grooming’ tactics.

The defendant was then tracked to his Fareham home address – where he was nowhere to be found – before he was finally hunted down and discovered at his work.

Police arrested him the following day.

‘(Baber) was talking to three women posing as children in chat rooms where he made a number of sexual suggestions and sent crude photos of himself before the team found him,’ prosecutor Timothy Compton said.

Baber also downloaded over 20 disturbing images of children aged between two and 14 years of age.

When police turned up at his address they found he had deleted his internet history – something he was prohibited from doing under the terms of an order from his previous term of imprisonment for similar offences.

The court also heard how Baber befriended a lady with his ulterior motives laid bare when he started texting her daughter.

On one occasion, the predator sent the girl a message saying he would get her a sex toy with a bean bag cushion. He also capitalised on an opportunity to spend time alone with the child when the mum fell asleep – further putting him in breach of his conditions with him not allowed to be by himself with a child.

The mum’s horror was compounded when she searched Baber on the internet and found out he was a paedophile.

The court heard how the child offender had 26 previous convictions and was sentenced to 48 months prison in 2013 for similar offences after downloading a string of vile child images and attempted to incite children into sexual activity.

Baber, of Riverside Avenue, Warrington, admitted attempting to incite children into sexual activity, deleting his internet history, distributing images of children and for breaching his sexual offences order.

After sentencing Baber to nine years and three months in prison, judge Robert Hill said: ‘You did your best to incite sex with children.

The only difference was that you were being set up.’

October 2013

Man jailed for grooming children online

A man’s been jailed for a total of four years for grooming children online, including an 11-year-old from Camberley.

39-year-old Mark Baber from Waltham in Hampshire was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court after admitting to a total of 26 charges.

He’s also been issued with a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Surrey Police launched an investigation in May 2012 after receiving intelligence that Baber was using a number of social networking websites and various online chatrooms to contact and sexually abuse children.

Following the reports specially trained officers from Surrey Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) carried out an extensive proactive investigation into the communications.

Baber attempted to contact an 11-year-old girl from the Camberley area and despite the fact it was clear he was attempting to communicate with a child, Baber continued on several occasions to send and request explicit images.

Following further enquiries POLIT officers attended Baber’s address in Slough in August 2012 where he was arrested on suspicion of a number of online sexual offences. Officers also seized various items of computer equipment for forensic examination.

Baber was later charged with four counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act or image, ten counts of making indecent images of children and a further ten counts of distributing indecent images of children.

Detective Constable Paul White, of Surrey Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: “I welcome the custodial sentence for Baber which marks the culmination of a lengthy and complex investigation which involved a large number of Surrey Police officers.

“Barber’s behaviour in persistently targeting someone who he believed was an underage girl over a number of weeks and months, and the nature of his requests, was clearly extremely concerning.

“Little did Baber know that his online activities were being investigated and thanks to the proactive work carried out by Surrey Police we were able to quickly arrest him and later charge him with a large number of offences.

“Surrey Police takes all online offences extremely seriously and we will continue to use all available resources to bring those who prey on young and vulnerable people online to justice.

“We will continue to relentlessly pursue those individuals who commit on-line offences and bring them before the courts, as we have successfully done on this occasion.”