July 2018: Now living in Barry Vale of Glamorgan
Man caught with indecent images of children
An man who struck up a relationship with a 17-year-old girl in America on Minecraft was found with indecent images of young children after she reported him to the authorities.
Gavin Whitbread, 32, became involved in an online relationship with the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was based in Arizona, after they met on the online video game in November 2017.
The Newport resident then began speaking to the girl over Skype and pressured her to engage in sexual conduct, which he recorded, and asked her to send illicit photographs.
The relationship came to an end at the beginning of 2018 when Whitbread blocked the girl and deleted the messages between them.
The teenager later contacted US organisation National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after she became concerned that inappropriate images of her would be shared by the defendant.
The National Crime Agency was contacted and officers from Gwent Police carried out a search warrant at Whitbread’s address in Morden Road on May 31.
When asked if he had indecent images of children, he said he had relationships with people online but none were underage.
He later admitted he had a number of images on his computer under a file named “angel” and asked officers “how long he would go to jail for”.
A total of 138 indecent images of children were found on a desktop computer of category A, B and C.
One image was found to include a one-year-old being abused while the other images included children aged between four to 12-years-old.
A number of the images also featured the girl in America, who was 17 at the time.
A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court on Monday heard that Whitbread pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children and possessing indecent images of children.
Prosecutor Laura Shepherd said that while the sexual activity between Whitbread and the teenager was not illegal because she was over 16, but his possession of indecent images of her was illegal.
She added there was no suggestion the images of the teenager had been shared, distributed or used for malicious purposes.
Sentencing, Recorder Catherine Richards said Whitbread’s most serious offending was his possession of indecent images of young children. She said: “You live a life of isolation and you trawl the internet looking for indecent images of children.
They reflect actual children being abused, suffering the trauma and horror of sexual abuse.
“Your behaviour adds to the harm of those children.“Despite the gravity of your offending you have no previous convictions and you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
“You clearly need substantial support in the community and you have already spend six weeks in custody.”
Whitbread, of Morden Road, Newport, made subject to a three-year community order. He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.