February 2018

‘Depraved’ supermarket boss jailed for web rape plot of young customer

A depraved supermarket boss discussed online how he would rape a schoolgirl, but worried that if she came into his store she might recognise him.

Thomas Perry chatted online with a man who was offering to arrange the sickening act they spoke of – first plying the youngster with alcohol and then tieing her up, blindfolding and gagging her.

But when police smashed a paedophile network they discovered the shocking exchanges between Perry and sick fixer Michael Emerton.

Perry, who was employed in a management role at the Tesco Express store in Berkhamsted, was arrested along with other paedophiles who had been in touch with Emerton.

On Friday (February 16) a judge told Perry that the online conversation with Emerton was ‘truly shocking’.

Perry, 28, who lived in Bell Lane, Northchurch, was given an extended prison sentence of 14 years.

Spelling out what that meant, the judge told him the custodial element of the sentence was 10 years, of which he would have to serve a minimum of six years and eight months before he could be considered for parole.

But that would only happen if the parole board were of the view he no longer posed a risk. If they were not of that view the judge told him he would remain behind bars longer.

The judge said that whenever he is released he will be on licence until 2032.

Perry was the last defendant of the Hertfordshire paedophile network to be sentenced.

Michael Emerton, 33, from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, used dating websites to organise the abuse with other men.

Luton Crown Court heard he arranged the live streaming of abuse of children via a video link and on other occasions, arranged to meet the other men and take part in sex acts in front of children.

Ringleader Emerton admitted 20 offences, including four counts of rape of a child and three of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and was given seven life terms, for which he must serve a minimum of nearly 10 years.

He later received two more life sentences after admitting further offences including conspiring with the other defendants in order to rape, commit sexual activity with a child or engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child. He will spend the rest of his life on licence.

Before he was sentenced on Friday Judge Kay was told that Perry still maintains his innocence. The judge said his non-acceptance of responsibility was a ‘cause for concern’.

He added: “Because you were working in the locality there was a need to protect your identity.”

Perry was told his name would go on the sex offenders’ register for life and he will also be made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

  • Paul Stevens, 54, of St Albans, admitted conspiracy to rape a child under 13 and conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child under 13 and was jailed for 10 years.

  • Matthew Webby, 30, of Hemel Hempstead, admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, conspiracy to rape a child, conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, and possession of indecent images of children, and was jailed for nine years.

  • Robert Lindsay, 39, of Markyate, Hertfordshire, admitted conspiracy to rape a child, conspiracy to commit sexual activity with a child, making indecent images of a child, and to causing or inciting the child sexual exploitation of a 17-year-old, and was jailed for five years and three months.

  • Simon Wintle, 44, of Hemel Hempstead, admitted sexual activity in the presence of a child and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child and was jailed for two years and six months.

  • David Overall, 44, of Stevenage, admitted distributing and downloading indecent photographs of children and was sentenced to two years.