August 2018

Jail for Wolsingham child abuser traced from device in Wales

Indecent images and videos found on computer equipment in Wales led to the arrest of a Weardale man in a “painstaking and sophisticated” investigation by police.

Officers were able to trace Matthew Bowes via his profile picture on Facebook which featured his BMW vehicle and registration plate.

It emerged the 26-year-old had recorded himself sexually abusing a child and had sent the videos on a messaging service to a man in Wales.

Bowes, of The Causeway, in Wolsingham, was sentenced to seven-and-half-years behind bars yesterday for a string of offences including the sexual assault of a child.

Durham Crown Court heard the offences came to light in April this year when the home of a 31-year-old was attended by North Wales Police.

Penny Bottomley, prosecuting, said he was arrested on suspicion of making indecent images and his computer equipment was seized along with a USB drive which contained five videos of a child being abused by an adult, later identified as Bowes.

The defendant, a former IT consultant and bar manager of previous good character, was arrested on May 9 and admitted his offensives in police interviews.

Bowes previously pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13, one count of recording videos of the abuse, one count of distributing the videos, one count of making indecent images as well as possession of extreme pornography.

Appearing via video link from HM Prison Durham, he was handed a custodial sentence totalling seven-and-a-half years – half of which he will serve behind bars.

Bowes will be placed on the sex offender’s register indefinitely and will be subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Christopher Prince praised police on their “painstaking” research.