January 2018

Man pleads guilty over ‘widely shared’ abuse video

Hampshire Police were forced to warn thousands of parents across the country of a disturbing video made by a paedophile.

Daniel Norton pleaded guilty to eight counts of child abuse when he appeared at Southampton Crown Court.

Norton, of Birtles Close, Cheadle, will be sentenced during a hearing at Southampton Crown Court on Thursday, February 1.

His video, which involved two Hampshire children engaging in sexual activity, was spread across social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.

It forced the police to issue a warning letter to parents, urging them to tell their children not to pass on the disturbing video.

Norton, 26, admitted three counts of causing a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity between October 1 and December 1, 2017.

The victims were aged between four and five years old and 13 and 15 years old.

He also pleaded guilty to making dozens of indecent moving images of children – across all three categories of severity – and possessing 20 extreme pornographic images – which the court described as “obscene” as they involved a person and an animal.

After Norton initially appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on December 6, parents were notified of one of the videos made by him had been shared on various platforms and across the news.

In the letter sent to parents after Norton’s initial court appearance in December, Detective Superintendent Rachel Farrell said Hampshire Constabulary had carried out a thorough investigation into the matters.

She said: “Both children, who are victims of serious crime, are being supported by specialist police officers and partner agencies.

“The advice from police remains the same, if children and young people receive this video on any social media platform they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.

“It’s really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening.

“We have been clear that we do not want to criminalise children and that people won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.”

She added: “Sadly, we are seeing more offences where young people are being targeted by offenders who conceal their identities, and know where to go online to access and strike up false friendships with children and unfortunately, no one is immune to the dangers.”

When Norton appeared at his hearing on Wednesday, the Cheadle, Stockport resident entered his guilty pleas.

Mitigating, Matthew Jewell asked the court for a pre-sentence report to be compiled on Norton to determine how “dangerous” the convicted paedophile is.

In ordering the report, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: “A custodial sentence will follow in the sentencing next month.

“Whether you are dangerous will also be assessed.”

Anyone concerned about online child sexual abuse should contact CEOP via the ClickCEOP reporting button – www.ceop.police.uk.