A Preston pedophile who was snared by an undercover police officer on the dark web has been sentenced to jail. William Gerald Lenehan, a 65-year-old was arrested after arranging to meet up and abuse underage daughters of an undercover police officer who posed as a pedophile himself of the dark web.
Court documents revealed that the 65-year-old Preston native also used two secure email accounts based in Russia to avoid being tracked by law enforcement. “Mr. Lenehan had two email accounts with Russian-based Yandex and Protonmail,” said prosecutor Mercedes Jabbari. The two Russian-based email providers are known for not sharing any kind of information with law enforcement agencies.
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The Preston pedophile also had several software and apps installed on his phone which according to prosecutor Jabbari, “made it extremely difficult or almost impossible” to check his browsing history. She also told the Preston Crown Court that, Mr. Lenehan, after he came into contact with the undercover police officer, told him that, he changes his email addresses frequently for security purposes and urged the police officer to do the same.
Mr. Lenehan and the undercover police officer were in contact for two months on the dark web and during that time, he expressed his desire to abuse his two underage daughters through secured email accounts. The Preston pedophile had no knowledge he was chatting with an undercover police officer and even arranged for them to meet, together with the officer’s two daughters which he had made up, so he can abuse them in front of him.
According to court documents, the Preston native’s arrest was as a result of a 2017 investigation launched by police officers in Kent, which seek to “identify, arrest and investigate pedophiles arranging to meet and facilitate sex offenses with underage children”. The Preston pedophile met the undercover police officer in May 2017 and hid behind the dark web moniker, “Exciting Times”.
Prosecutor Jabbari told the court that, Mr. Lenehan just four days after meeting the undercover police officer on the dark web told him to send a picture of him and his daughters involved in a sex act and then they could go on to do some “really heavy stuff”. The Preston pedophile then suggested they create a private group in a chat room application, which he named ‘Gary’.
Prosecutor Jabbari told the Preston Crown Court that, Lenehan and the undercover police officer exchanged several explicit messages on the dark web between May and July 2017, concerning the abuse of the two underaged girls. She also added that Lenehan also instructed the undercover police officer to engage in several sexual acts with his daughters as well as expressing a specific description of what kinds of acts he too would love to perform with the underaged girls.
The pedophile also sent the undercover police officer several ‘first generation’ custom made images of children, which included one of an eight-year-old girl holding a placard with the date of the day the message was sent as well as Lenehan’s Kik Messenger username. Prosecutor Jabbari revealed in court that, the images indicated that the dark web pedophile had obtained them from a source not far removed from the original abuser. Police officers later traced the images to a man living in Torquay, who had been arrested and convicted to child pornography charges.
Prosecutor Jabbari added that the defendant in other messages with the undercover police officer stated that, “He enjoyed their ‘purvy chats’ and even expressed disappointment at the situation saying ‘pity this is all illegal”. Lenehan also tried on several occasions to arrange a meeting with the undercover police officer and his two daughters so they could all abuse the underaged girls who were allegedly three and six years of age.
Lenehan’s IP address from Kik Messenger was traced by police officers and found it to be from an address on Devonshire Place in Preston. The pedophile was however away in France on a work trip but was arrested the following day at Manchester Airport. A search warrant executed on his residence uncovered a mobile phone which contained 61 indecent images and videos of underaged children. Out of the 61 indecent images found on the phone, one fell under category A, three under category B and 57 fell under category C.
The victims whose images and videos were found on the phone were reportedly aged between five and 10. One of the videos also lasted for over five minutes. Prosecutor Jabbari also revealed that the Preston man had made attempts to delete the images found of the phone, which he owned since 2012.
“The mobile device was found to have several means of secure communications and means of access to the internet making it difficult or impossible for such communications or browsing to be intercepted or detected,” Ms. Jabbari stated, adding that “There were programs for the effective permanent deletion of images and a Virtual Private Network to hide addresses making it difficult to trace the location of the user”.
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The Preston Pedophile admitted to encouraging a man to take and send him indecent images of children, distributing indecent images and possessing indecent images. His defense attorney Shirlie Duckworth argued that Lenehan’s actions were in a period of insanity where he had no insight into the damage his actions and behavior could do.
“If this court is inclined to look at the longer-term protection of the public and rehabilitation of this defendant then supervision in the community would allow rehabilitation and longer-term protection,” Ms. Duckworth stated. She also added that her client had voluntarily engaged with the Lucy Faithful Foundation charity, an organization which works to prevent child sexual abuse and had searched for help for his misuse of alcohol.
Ms. Duckworth told the court that, his client had lost his job and any contact with his children after he was arrested for the offenses he committed. She added that he has since not committed any further offenses after his arrest. Lenehan was sentenced to 31 months in jail and ordered to register as a sex offender in addition to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Source: Lancs Live
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