American paedophile who sent child abuse images to British customers jailed for 120 years

Kenneth Stokes was in contact with a British paedophile group for months

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An American paedophile who supplied made-to-order images of child abuse for British customers has been jailed for 120 years.

Kenneth Stokes, 71, who has been convicted of abusing five children in the Philippines, was in contact with a British paedophile group for months – selling dossiers of images for up to £800 a time.

Investigators also found a script for a film on his computer in the Philippines depicting the sexual and physical abuse of a child.

British police became aware of Stokes in 2011 when they examined the computer of a Merseyside-based suspect during a separate investigation into the live-streaming of sexual abuse of Filipino youngsters to UK-based paying customers. That four-year British-led international operation resulted in a raid of the backstreet shack where the abuse was being filmed. Stokes’ details were found on one of the seized computers at the house.

The size of the sentence handed to Stokes at a court in Missouri this week contrasts with the sentences handed down to any of the five Britons jailed so far as a result of the inquiry into live-streaming and abuse, the longest of which was 14 years.

One of those jailed, Timothy Ford, of Kettering, Northants, who was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in 2014 after being described as a “voracious sex offender” by his trial judge, had planned to move to the Philippines to set up an internet café in Angeles City, a notorious hotbed for trafficked children.

Stokes was arrested in 2012 and extradited to the US following a separate inquiry after an undercover American police officer noted an advert on the sales site Craigslist that he suspected was a front for the sale of images of child abuse. The agent travelled to the Philippines posing as a paedophile and was invited into Stokes’ home, where he was shown abuse images and even encouraged to rape Stokes’ wife, to impregnate her to create a child that could be used for future abuse.

Officials told The Independent that Stokes had been keen to talk about what he had done. “Once I showed up and he saw that I was for real, then he was very comfortable and talked openly,” said the agent.

“Stokes later told investigators that he had produced child pornography for multiple individuals and sold collections of child pornography for as much as $1,250 [£800],” said the US Department of Homeland Security, which investigated the paedophile.

Stokes, who pleaded guilty, will die in prison. “This sexual predator abused an untold number of young children,” said US Attorney Tammy Dickinson. “Today’s tough sentence ensures the public – and more importantly, his victims – that he will never be released from prison. A lengthy sentence sends a message about the consequences of committing such a monstrous crime.”