Child rapist jailed for seven years after anonymous tip-off to police
A MAN who raped young children and set up websites to share images of the abuse has been given an indeterminate sentence with a minimum jail term of seven years.
Unemployed Darren Leggett, 32, was caught following an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public who found one of the two websites he created.
Detectives said Leggett used children as "objects" and "commodities" to satisfy his depraved urges over a six-year period, with no thought for his victims.
The information about the two websites was passed from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to the Child Exploitation Online Protection (Ceop) centre which identified the websites' link to Leggett.
Police then set up an operation where Leggett arranged to pay to sexually abuse a child. It led to officers raiding his home on February 10, where he was arrested and his computer and memory sticks seized.
The haul revealed the scale of Leggett's offending. Officers found 36 films he had made, showing a string of sexual abuse against three young children.
Leggett, formerly of Mount Avenue in Yalding village near Maidstone, Kent, pleaded guilty to 31 counts of child sex offences, including four of child rape; taking, possessing and distributing sex abuse of children; and arranging for child sex, Kent Police said.
Sentencing him at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Philip Statman said he will serve at least seven years in prison and must prove he is no longer a danger before being considered for release.
Following the case, Detective Sergeant Dave Shipley, the senior investigating officer, said: "Leggett used children as objects for his depraved desires, as commodities which he was content to trade and share with others, with no thought for the impact his actions would have on his victims."
Emma Lowther, of the IWF, said: "It is with thanks to the person who anonymously made a report to the IWF that our hotline could assess the serious nature of the websites and work with police colleagues who identified the man behind them.
"These websites were out of the ordinary, with serious depraved desires to trade, sell and rent children.
"Thanks to the close partnership working, within a week of the report being received, a dangerous offender and distributor of child sexual abuse images was arrested and in less than four months has been imprisoned.
"There is no better result than knowing our work has helped rescue three children from further suffering, shut down criminal websites and convict the offender running them."
Jim Warnock, head of operational delivery at the Ceop centre said: "Today's sentence highlights just how important the excellent working relationships between officers at the Ceop centre, the IWF and Kent Police are. Using initial information provided by the IWF, developing that and working to identify the offender and providing a package of intelligence to Kent Police, officers at Ceop have helped to ensure that another extremely dangerous child sexual offender is now behind bars.
"Darren Leggett showed no thought for the impact his actions had on the children he abused or their families. Anyone who thinks they can cause harm to our most vulnerable should take note of this case and understand that law enforcement agencies, and the partners we work with, will do everything in our power to hold them to account."