Pervert asked police 'is this about the videos' when they came knocking at his door

Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court
Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A paedophile asked police officers "is this about the videos?" when they came knocking at his door.

Lewis Wilkinson used Snapchat, Telegram and Mega to collect and trade vile pictures and videos of children aged as young as four being sexually abused. He told detectives that he "just couldn't stop" after "going down a wormhole" online following his grandad's death.

Liverpool Crown Court heard this afternoon, Tuesday, that Merseyside Police received information that the 22-year-old's IP address had been used in order to download indecent images of children, while his Snapchat account was also utilised in order to access illicit files on January 15 last year. As a result, officers executed a search warrant at his home at around 9.30am on May 30 2023.

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Wilkinson - of Stringhey Road in Wallasey, Wirral - answered the door and asked "if this was about videos". Stuart Mills, prosecuting, described how an iPhone and an iPad were then seized from the property.

A total of 15 category A indecent images, those showing the most serious forms of abuse, were subsequently discovered on the mobile phone. Wilkinson was also found to have collected 51 images in category B, 123 category C images, 54 prohibited computer generated images and two extreme pornographic images.

Mr Mills meanwhile said there was "evidence of distribution of indecent images of children" on the device. This concerned him sending five category A images, eight category B images and one category C image to other perverts.

Wilkinson, who has no previous convictions, was interviewed on November 30 the same year and told detectives he had been viewing such materials for around a year. He added that "it started following the loss of his grandfather" and "started out of curiosity but escalated and he just couldn't stop", having used the applications Telegram and Mega to download the sickening pictures and videos.

Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court
Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Anthony O'Donohoe, defending, told the court: "He is someone who, rather refreshingly, has been completely open about this matter. Here is a young man who fully cooperated with the police and has voluntarily started steps to rehabilitate himself.

"He became rather isolated. The death of his grandfather struck him very hard.

"It was easy for him to be in his own room, in his own world. He went down a wormhole and started getting a morbid interest in this type of material."

Mr O'Donohoe said his client "swapped with like minded people to receive other images" but had distributed a "relatively small number" of images, adding: "In addition, he has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. His parents describe him as immature for his age, but as a likeable young man.

"He has started other hobbies - an interest in air shows and the like. He wants to do courses to assist himself in the job market."

Wilkinson admitted three counts of distributing indecent images of children, possession of indecent images, three charges of making indecent images, possession of prohibited images of children and possession of extreme pornographic images. He was handed a 16-month imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court
Lewis Wilkinson outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Sentencing, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said: "Of all of these offences, the most serious is that of distribution of category A images. I am quite satisfied that this activity can be confined to a relatively short period of time within 12 months.

"One of the positive elements of your case is that, after your arrest, you immediately were candid with the police. That is an attitude which has continued to this day.

"You, by your activity, were making your contribution to a horrendous, sordid global industry of the manipulation and exploitation of young children. They are inevitably damaged and traumatised.

"I see how this all began, a period of isolation in covid days following a sorely missed bereavement of your grandfather. You have started to engage with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, and of course what has transpired is your diagnosis of ADHD and autism."

Wilkinson was also given 160 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days. He was subjected to a seven-year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the sex offenders' register.

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