A pedophile tried to get away with claiming his own son had a device on which police found indecent videos of children.
William Rumsby, 71, had previously been convicted of having abuse images and sentenced in December 2016.
But he returned to the dark web to collect even more – and installed software on his computer in an effort to cover his tracks.
He then told a “series of lies” when police caught him, claiming a tablet belonged to his son and he did not know the passcode.
Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday that the pensioner had been handed a suspended four-month prison sentence and a seven-year Sexual Offense Prevention Order (SHPO) after he was previously found guilty of possessing and of making indecent images of children.
This meant that he was subject to a number of restrictions, including requiring him to notify the authorities of any device belonging to him capable of accessing the Internet, not deleting the history of the websites visited and granting the access to equipment at the request of an agent.
When Merseyside Police attended his home on Saunders Avenue in Prescot on November 2 last year, Rumsby initially claimed he was ‘unaware’ of the order. His cell phone was checked, but nothing suspicious was found.
Detectives then asked to look at a Samsung tablet which was in a stand in front of the chair he was sitting on.
Rumsby claimed it “did not belong to him and could not be verified”, claiming it was his son’s and he did not have the code to unlock it and refusing to provide his son’s contact details.
However, records showed he registered the tablet with the force in November 2020 under the terms of his SHPO.
Rumsby was found to have installed software such as VPNs and browsers capable of accessing the dark web that “enabled end-to-end encrypted communications”, as well as the ability to erase or not save the anonymity of a user and Internet history.
Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, said: “Anything watched, viewed or downloaded, it is extremely likely that there would be no evidence of it.”
Despite this, four indecent Category A images – materials showing the most serious forms of abuse – were located on the device.
Two of them were approximately 13-minute videos that showed “young boys who appeared to be pre-adolescent in age” engaging in sexual acts.
12 other category C photos were also found.
David Woods, defending, told the court that his client had alcohol problems.
He said: “The court will be concerned that those who view these types of articles on the internet may also allow their demons to cause them to directly offend vulnerable children.” There’s nothing in his story that suggests a move toward that kind of behavior.
“He is a man who has been traumatized for much of his life from events in his own childhood. For several years, he has been rather isolated.
‘He’s an old man now. He is not in contact with his family or as a couple.
‘He lives alone. He had a friend he could talk to about his problems, but that friend sadly passed away and he became more isolated.
“Once drunk, his behavior sometimes changes and makes him less inhibited – he worries about that. He took the opportunity to get help and support.
Rumsby admitted possession of indecent images, two counts of making indecent images and breaching a sexual abuse prevention order. He was imprisoned for 20 months.
At sentencing, Judge Denis Watson QC said: ‘When the police came to check on you, you told a series of lies.
“It’s not the first time you’ve committed this kind of offence. I take into account your alcohol problems and the fact that there seems to be some insight and awareness of the problems and the demons to which you face.
Rumsby was handed a new 10-year SHPO prohibiting him from contact with children, as well as a notification requirement lasting the same period. Judge Watson ordered the tablet confiscated and told the defendant to pay a victim surcharge.
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