Monday 14 October 2019

Sex predator (50) used elaborate catfish scam on dating websites to groom rape victims

50-year-old sexual predator Robert Devereux of Roseway, Macclesfield
50-year-old sexual predator Robert Devereux of Roseway, Macclesfield

Kim Pilling

A 50-year-old sexual predator who posed as a physically fit young environmentalist on a dating website to groom women has been jailed for 17 years.

Robert Devereux was convicted on seven counts of rape and blackmail against one victim and found guilty of sexual assault and false imprisonment against a second woman, said the Crown Prosecution Service.

Chester Crown Court heard that Devereux, of Roseway, Macclesfield, duped his victims using a fake profile he set up on the Plenty of Fish website.

He developed an elaborate plan in which he claimed the women must have sexual relations with "Rob", a friend of the online "Dean", before they could meet the fake character they had fallen for.

Devereux went on to rape one of the women after they met up, and then threatened to post intimate photographs of her online if she did not continue the sexual activity.

The other woman was told to wear a blindfold when she first went to Devereux's home and only discovered his true identity during sex. He then sexually assaulted her before she bravely fought him off and made her escape.

Following sentencing on Tuesday for the offences committed between 2011 and 2015, Martin McRobb, a specialist rape and sexual offences prosecutor with MerseyCheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Devereux worked on the emotions of these women over a long period of time, enticing them with a persuasive but utterly fake persona until they were desperate to meet him.

"They were seeking and deserved a genuine human relationship, but they had in fact been pulled into a web of perversion and deceit by this cold and calculating sexual offender.

"The decision making on this case was complex as on the face of it the women had consented to have sexual relations.

"But the Crown Prosecution Service argued that this was not true consent as in the case of one victim she would not have submitted to sexual activity had she not been the victim of blackmail.

"They had believed in the character of Dean and had become so caught up in the web that they were willing to do almost anything to meet the man they had fallen for.

"The effects upon Devereux's victims are life-long and catastrophic. Their self-confidence and desire to find a meaningful relationship may never return."

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