LOST on a bus, this mobile phone held the key to the smashing of a nationwide child porn ring. The handset was found on a service travelling from the Metrocentre to Newcastle and was handed to the driver. After checking it to try and identify the owner, the driver was horrified to find a series of sick images stored on its memory.
Officers raided Fraser’s then-address, on Clayton Road, Jesmond, which led to the true scale of the ring being discovered.
Mr Simpson said: “The police went to his property and he had two phones in his possession. “He threw one of them onto the bed and the police also found a number of other phones, 12 to be precise, inside the premises. “There were 14 in total inside that room and six of those had these images on them. “What was quite apparent was that the one thrown on the bed had had 11 different Sim cards used in it.”
Between all the phones found to contain child porn, Fraser was found to be in possession of 371 images, more than 80 of which were later categorised as level four, the second most revolting. An analysis of messages received by the handsets led detectives to others, who in turn had their phones seized and interrogated. The investigation grew rapidly, as more and more suspects were identified by the pictures and videos they had been sending between each other, often in exchange for mobile phone credit.
Fraser admitted nine counts of being in possession of indecent images of children and five of making indecent images of children, which related to pictures being sent between different mobiles found in his room. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of the possession of extreme pornography. He also asked for offences relating to a further 89 child porn pictures to be taken into consideration when he was sentences.
Brian Hegarty, defending, said: “The defendant accepts that he has an unhealthy interest in children, which is of many years standing.” Judge John Evans told Fraser the offences he committed, despite not being convicted of distributing images, could have attracted a prison sentence. But after the Probation Service said he was eligible for sex offenders’ treatment, he decided not to lock him up. Instead, Fraser was give a three-year community order, ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and given a Sex Offenders’ Prevention Order, which means he must not use computers or phones for sending or receiving images and is prevented from taking pictures in public of
Pervert with a long history of offending
IT started with a chance find but led to the unravelling of a wicked web weaved by a network of paedophiles. In his bedroom, Michael Fraser had stockpiled mobile phones packed full of vile images of youngsters, which he was being sent by fellow perverts. But when he carelessly left one of the mobiles on the number 100 bus from the Metrocentre to central Newcastle, it sparked a police operation that would uncover the child porn ring.
Analysis of the phones seized from Fraser led detectives to others who had been exchanging pictures and videos with him and follow-up raids identified more suspects. Among those caught by Operation Cammell was serial pervert David Walton, whose name was stored as “Katy” in Fraser’s phone.
The 48-year-old, of Rawling Road, Gateshead, had a long history of making and distributing indecent images and in 2005 had tried to set-up a global child sex film-making operation.
Using an internet cafe on the West Road, Newcastle, he established bank accounts in the Far East and claimed to have customers lined up across Asia. After police rumbled his plans, he was recalled to prison, having been jailed in 1995 for assaulting a youngster, in 2001 for possessing indecent photographs of children and again, for five years, in 2002, for again downloading sick images.
It was while on licence for the 2005 sentence that Walton was caught by Operation Cammell, having sent pictures to Fraser and others in exchange for phone credit, and he was locked up indefinitely to protect the public.
It is the conviction of Walton, formerly of Rye Hill, Newcastle, that detectives point to as the level of danger those involved in the racket posed. Det Chief Insp Paul Young, who led the investigation, said: “The investigation started with the finding of one mobile phone on a bus but led to the recovery of numerous other phones at various locations in the North East and throughout the country.
“It resulted in five people being convicted of the possession, making and distribution of indecent images at Newcastle Crown Court, while other investigations are ongoing in other parts of the country.”
As well as Fraser and Walton, Callum Livingstone, from Chester, was jailed for 18 months, Paul Johnson, from Scarborough, got 15 months and Christopher Marshall, from Humberside, was given a three-year community order and