Published: 00:01, 16 August 2013 |
Hotel manager Duncan Smith kept a sinister secret hidden from the hundreds of “friends” he boasted on the Internet social networking site, Facebook.
The 38-year-old boss of the Oval Hotel in Margate had more than 300 people on his “friends” list...many of them young teenage girls.
The deviant pervert had been a convicted sex offender who had searched for vile images of children – include ones depicting child rape.
But he chose to keep the truth from his Facebook pals... and from his lover Sharon Clarke.
She loaned him her mobile phone and computer, which he then used to access more illegal pictures to feed his “insatiable appetite for child sex”.
Now Smith, from Godwin Road, has been jailed for two-and-a-half years – and a judge has extended his licence period by another 18 months after he admitted breaching a court order and possessing more illegal images.
In 2005, he was placed on the Sex Offender’s Register – and ordered to stay away from children under a Sex Offences Prevention Order.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how police officers had spoken to Smith on numerous occasions when he denied having access to the Internet – even providing a mobile phone to prove it wasn’t capable of accessing information on line.
But in May last year an officer was tipped off that secretly he had set up a Facebook account and discovered that Smith had a profile with a number of friends listed.
Prosecutor Dale Sullivan said: “Some of those 267 friends had images which included pictures of children but by June that number had risen to 321, “ he added.
Further examination revealed further “Chatlogs” – on line discussions which Smith had conducted – which prompted a raid on the hotel by police.
They seized a laptop computer, two Blackberry mobile phones, a Nokia and a Samsung Smartphone.
“Although he had listed among his online ‘friends’ people who appeared to be below the age of 16 there is NO evidence that he had been grooming or having inappropriate conversations with them, “ said the prosecutor.
However, when one of the Blackberry phones was forensically examined it was discovered that he had stored “a large amount of indecent images of children” – including pictures from the worst Level Five.
Ms Clarke told police that she began a relationship with Smith in June last year and had become engaged.
After three months he had revealed a sanitised version of his previous conviction saying that “he had downloaded something from the Internet when something else was downloaded which turned out to be kiddie porn”.
Judge Simon James said that was a distortion of the truth and Smith had not been a “victim of a pop-up” on the computer, but he had deliberately searched for the images.
“You have an uncontrollable sex obsession with children and there is a likelihood of more serious contact offences in the future" - Judge Simon James
Ms Clarke added that she had bought a second-hand laptop but that Smith had used it to access Facebook.
She said that whenever the hotel manager used his Blackberry “he would keep it close to him and was on it constantly, always turning away from her so she couldn’t see what he was doing”.
Mr Sullivan added that Smith then borrowed a computer from a 17-year-old girl, claiming he needed it to access his bank balance.
Judge James said Smith had shown a “flagrant disregard” for the order which had been designed to prevent him accessing illegal pictures.
“You have an uncontrollable sex obsession with children and there is a likelihood of more serious contact offences in the future.
“You made a concerted effort to circumvent controls designed to stop you offending and you pose a risk of harm to children.”
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