An extended jail sentence has been imposed on a man from Ashford who set up online chat rooms to distribute indecent images of children.
Christopher Ball, 50, was arrested at his home in Kilndown Close in January 2020 after police received information he had posted an indecent image on Facebook.
An investigation by Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team then uncovered a large number of indecent images on his computers, including more than 1,200 category A images, the most serious kind as classified by investigators.
Online chat rooms
Further to the images and moving clips, officers found evidence that Ball had repeatedly tried to contact children through the internet and incite them to commit sexual acts.
More than 20 chat logs were found from between November 2019 and January 2020, which showed Ball contacting children in a number of countries and sending them explicit clips.
He had also set up and managed online chat rooms in which more than 400 indecent images and moving clips were shared with others.
Ball was charged with 44 offences, including multiple charges of possessing, distributing and making indecent images of a child, attempting to sexually communicate with a child, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
Ball admitted all of those offences at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 26 May 2021. He was jailed for eight years and ordered to serve an extra two years on licence at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday 18 August.
He was made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will prohibit him from using a device capable of accessing the internet without police knowledge and strictly limit his contact with children, as well as other restrictions.
Detective Constable Lee Sparks, investigating officer for the Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: ‘These were particularly serious offences as evidence showed Ball had repeatedly attempted to persuade children to commit sexual acts and was instrumental in sharing images and clips with others online.
‘The children abused in the making of these images are real victims of crime and offenders like Ball create a demand for this terrible abuse to be carried out.
‘I would urge anyone who suspects someone they know of viewing or sharing such images to report it immediately, either through the Kent Police website, by calling 101 or dialling 999 if a crime is in progress.’