April 2018

Bookham paedophile who had sexual conversations with teenage boys avoids jail

A 24-year-old from Bookham who was convicted of trying to incite teenage boys to engage in sexual activity has avoided jail after the defence argued that he was “mentally immature”.

Patrick Collyer, of Little Bookham Street, pleaded guilty to nine charges involving the possession, downloading and distribution of hundreds of indecent photos of children, as well as attempting to incite two boys on Twitter, who claimed to be aged 14 and 15, into sexual activity.

He walked free from Guildford Crown Court on Friday (April 13) after Judge Alexia Durran imposed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. The court heard that Collyer had conversations with a Twitter user claiming to be a 15-year-old boy from Michigan in the USA and another claiming to be a 14-year-old from Wales.

He was 18 or 19 at the time of the Twitter chats but claimed to be 16. There was talk of trading photos and of sexual activity, but in the case of the 14-year-old, there was mention of penetrative sexual activity, the court heard.

Collyer’s collection of indecent photos involved children as young as nine, though the average age was estimated to be 14, and it included category A, B and C images and videos.

He was arrested on August 8, 2016 at his home address after Surrey Police received information from US law enforcement agents that a Twitter account had been used to upload images of children

The IP address was traced back to Collyer’s home and to the University of Sussex, where he was studying. Following his arrest, his hard drives were seized and indecent images of children were found on two laptops.

Robert Brown, prosecuting, said: “His Twitter usage was for about two years. This may be viewed as a high volume of images and the placing of images for a high volume of users. There is no evidence of penetration taking place but that appears to be what he was intending to incite.”

Mr Brown said further investigations by the police showed online searches aimed at teenage boys and gay teenage boys.

He said Collyer used his Twitter account, which had 507 followers, to post and send images of children. He also followed accounts that appeared to belong to boys under 16 who were gay.

Collyer was given concurrent sentences for his nine convictions, the most serious of which was him inciting the 14-year-old in Wales to engage in penetrative sexual activity. It was for this offence that he received a two-year sentence, the punishment having been reduced from three years.

Judge Alexia Durran told Collyer: “There is the volume of images and there will be a large number of victims. The defence says this is an exceptional case. You are described as vulnerable, anxious and depressed and you were, at the time, very isolated.”

Collyer is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years, undertake rehabilitation activity and attend a programme run by the probation service.

As part of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order, he will have restricted use of his computer and he will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with any child under 18.