December 2018

Disgraced Ryedale accountant gets new jail term for downloaded thousands of child-abuse images

Crooked accountant Brian Ridyard, who fleeced nearly a third of a million pounds out of unsuspecting clients, has received another jail sentence for downloading thousands of child-abuse images.

The swindling bookkeeper, 65, who was jailed for five years in November 2017 for a £320,000 fraud involving 20 business accounts and the taxman, received an extra 12 months’ jail this week after he admitted making and possessing nearly 20,000 indecent images of children.

The vile images were downloaded by Ridyard, from Kirkbymoorside, before his arrest for the fraud offences last year in which he swindled small businesses and self-employed people in North Yorkshire and the East Riding over a four-year period by failing to send their tax returns to Revenue & Customs, withholding letters from the taxman to his clients, and keeping some of their tax rebates for himself.

York Crown Court heard that police discovered the huge scam by chance after searching Ridyard’s home in Ryedale for evidence of child abuse images.

They seized computer equipment and documents which also revealed he had been defrauding his customers on a grand scale between January 2012 and July 2016.

His victims included a security and alarms-installation firm, a guest house, a barber, a private landlord, a beauty salon, a transport company, a computer business and a specialist vehicle-maintenance firm.

Following Ridyard’s prison sentence for fraud last year, police kept open their investigation into his debauched online activities. He was charged with 14 counts of possessing child sexual abuse images, six counts of making indecent images, as well as possessing prohibited images – namely 28 cartoon shots featuring child abuse.

He admitted all the offences and appeared for sentence via video link on Monday. Prosecutor Neil Coxon said that out of the 19,840 debauched images found on Ridyard’s devices, 723 were rated Category A – the worst kind depicting images of serious sexual abuse. Over 400 of these were videos.

The vast majority were Category C images – some 18,845 porn shots involving children. Police also found 327 Category B images on Ridyard’s computer devices, as well as the cartoon images.

Ridyard, of Duna Way, had been downloading and viewing the depraved images between 2014 and 2017, the court heard.

He had been convicted of similar offences in 2016, when he was still plying his trade in accountancy.

His firm was based in Hambleton. He was spared prison on that occasion but made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order to curb his online activities but carried on downloading debauched material.

“He has, for whatever reason, carried on with this sort of offending,” said Mr Coxon. “There appears to be an escalation (in Ridyard’s offending).” 

Judge Simon Hickey told Ridyard: “You were given a chance (in 2016) to address your behaviour and you didn’t. You then went on to escalate your activity.”

Imposing a further 12 months to the five-year sentence that Ridyard is presently serving, Mr Hickey told the disgraced accountant that the new jail term would be served consecutively to the current one because of his previous convictions.

Ridyard was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years, made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order for a similar period of time and placed on a disbarring list.