Bexhill man jailed for child sex offences

Richard Hunt. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police
Richard Hunt. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police

A man has been jailed for 13 years for child sex offences, including running a website showing sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 16.

Richard Hunt, 47, unemployed, of Collington Avenue, Bexhill, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (December 2) having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to a total of 14 offences.

Police said these included facilitating child pornography, inciting a penetrative child sex offence, inciting the taking of indecent images of children, attempting to arrange a child sex offence, money laundering, possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme adult images and possession of prohibited images of children.

He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment with an extended licence supervision requirement of two years after release.

Hunt will not be eligible to be considered for parole for at least eight years.

He will also be subject to sex offender registration for life and was issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), severely restricting his access to children and use of computers.

Hunt was also issued with a Sex Offender Travel Order banning his travel out of the UK for a period of five years after release.

In sentencing Hunt, Judge Paul Tain said: “It is absolutely clear there is truly significant risk posed by you to the public.

“These are the most repellent examples of degrading behaviour towards children that a judge could hope to see.”

The prosecution followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT) of Sussex Police.

The officer in the case, DC Martin Harmer, said: “The investigation into Hunt originated from intelligence found on the computer of a US suspect. The intelligence indicated that Hunt had exchanged indecent images of children with that suspect.

“We executed a search warrant at his home address in June 2012 and Hunt was arrested and interviewed.

“The forensic examination of his computer equipment and online accounts identified that Hunt possessed more than 10,000 indecent images of children and was exchanging these with a large number of people online.

“He also engaged in extensive chat with others in which he encouraged them to sexually abuse and photograph children known to them.

“One of the abused children was identified by our team as a German national. It transpires that Hunt was instrumental in running a website dedicated to the horrific sexual abuse of this girl at the hands of a family friend there for some 10 years.

“The website charged for images of the girl and Hunt managed the payment and administration of the site.

“Hunt initially refused to accept a number of the charges and so the German victim was faced with the fear of having to attend a foreign court to give evidence. Thankfully he changed his plea on the first day of trial, avoiding her additional distress.

“This was a particularly challenging investigation and the outcome would not have been possible without assistance from other officers including Detective Constable Helen Curtis, who was the original investigating officer and Sergeant Christine Holyoake who provided liaison with the German victim and German authorities.”

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