Three British paedophiles were jailed yesterday for using internet chatrooms to plot the rape of two teenage schoolgirls. Alan Hedgcock, a make-up artist, greetings card retailer David Beavan and electrician Robert Mayers were all sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison.
The prosecutors used logs of internet conversations which showed that the three men were planning to kidnap two sisters aged 13 and 14, in order to sexually assault them. It's the first time such evidence has been used in court to convict such serious offenders.
The three men had not even met in person before they were arrested and stood facing each other in court.
Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said in court, "This is an area of criminality that appears to not have come before the courts before, although I fear it will again."
During sentencing, he went on to say, "They had conversations of the most lurid and disgusting king with all three of them drooling over the prospect of taking one of these children into the woods and raping her."
Mayers and Beaven have children of their own, but it was shown in court that they had been exchanging a collection of 'obscene and depraved' child porn images. Hedgcock and Mayers received eight year sentences, while Beavan received eleven years minimum.
Home Secretary John Reid said yesterday that convicted sex offenders such as these men could in future be forced to disclose their email addresses and chatroom identities to prevent these sort of cases occurring again.
He said, "We already have probably the toughest regime in Europe for identifying sex offenders.
"But although we are strong, we have to keep ahead of the game and I want to bring in stronger, broader powers to protect our children."
Current laws dictate that sex offenders must list their name and address on the sex offenders register after they have been convicted.