Paedophile dubbed 'every parent's nightmare' jailed indefinitely

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The Independent Online

A dangerous paedophile at the centre of an international child sex abuse ring was jailed indefinitely today to protect young boys.

Gareth Hulme, 25, from Manchester, twice raped a 10-year-old after gaining the trust of the boy's parents and luring him away to walk his dog in woods.



Hulme, described in court as a predatory paedophile who is "every parent's nightmare", attacked the lad at a summer festival in Cheshire last year - taking a photo on his mobile phone as he raped his victim.



Hulme, a security guard, also lurked in internet chatrooms to groom other victims, including a 15-year-old boy, and was also attempting to arrange a meeting with a friend to have sex with a nine-year-old.



When police raided his house following his arrest last June they discovered a hoard of sickening child porn on his mobile phone and computer.



The discovery led to the unravelling of a child sex network and 23 other police forces, including Interpol, launched raids to arrest suspects as far afield as Ireland, Spain and Luxembourg.



So far 25 people have been arrested since Hulme was held and Greater Manchester Police also traced other potential child sex offenders, three of whom were charged, including a former high school maths teacher.



A number of other men in positions of trust were also identified as suspects and a series of police investigations is ongoing.



Hulme pleaded guilty to two rapes of the 10-year-old and taking an indecent photograph of the boy.



He also pleaded guilty to making and distributing child sex abuse images, attempting to arrange child sex, meeting a child following grooming and sexual activity with a child, along with possession of an offensive weapon.



Today Judge Anthony Gee QC gave Hulme an indeterminate sentence for public protection at Manchester Crown Court, and told the defendant he must serve a minimum of six years before the Parole Board can consider his release.



But Judge Gee said as Hulme was regarded as a danger to young boys it may be many more years before he is considered safe enough to release.



Passing sentence he added: "No right-thinking person hearing the facts of this case can feel anything but horror, revulsion and disgust.



"I regard yours as an appalling case.



"You are a sexual predator and a paedophile.



"I regard you as a real danger to young boys who you regard as your prey to satisfy deviant and perverted sexual urges."



Judge Gee then referred to a comment made by Hulme about sex with youngsters where he said "nine is the youngest that I'd go".



"The views you expressed there," Judge Gee added, "will shock every parent and represents every parent's nightmare.



"Your offences against the 10-year-old and the 15-year-old were pre-meditated and designed to allow you unsupervised access to these boys.



"You are only 25 and it seems likely to me you will remain a real danger to others for many years to come."













The 10-year-old's parents sat at the side of the dock in court while Hulme was sentenced.



The boy did not tell his parents of his ordeal and they first found out when police called.



The boy's mother, in a victim impact statement, told the court that her "happy, friendly, outgoing" son had become quiet and withdrawn, refuses to do PE at school because he has to take his clothes off and sometimes communicates using charts with sad or smiling faces so he can indicate his mood.



"We don't know if he will ever be the same again," she added.



He had gone to a summer event in May last year with his parents where Hulme worked as a security guard. Hulme used his victim's fondness for dogs to lure him away from his parents.



He orally raped the boy, taking a photo of the act, and the night after anally raped his victim.



Just weeks before, Hulme groomed his 15-year-old victim after meeting him on a social networking website Gay Youth Corner.



He later picked the boy up in his car and drove him home where they engaged in penetrative sex and bondage, before Hulme dropped the youngster off at home.



A month later he made contact via MSN messages with a man called Paul Childerson, the court heard.



Childerson told him he had access to a young boy, a cousin, aged nine.



The men agreed to meet up to have sex with the boy, Hulme asking if he could also bring a friend, but the meeting fell through.



In fact, Childerson made the arrangements so he could beat up Hulme, who was later charged with attempting to arrange a child sex offence, the court was told.



Police analysis of Hulme's computer revealed his fixation with pre-pubescent boys, including photos and video clips of youngsters, one estimated to be as young as three, engaged in sex with adults.



In conversations with others in the network, he discussed the forced rape of children, baby-sitting for neighbours to get access to children, sharing children to abuse and raping the children of friends and family.



Detective Constable Jordan McGowan, from Greater Manchester Police's Operation Impact team, set up to smash the paedophile ring, said: "What Hulme did to these boys was horrific and has led to two families dealing with issues that nobody should ever have to face.



"Cruelly, he had such a strong psychological hold over his victims that they were too scared to come forward."



Hulme first came to the notice of police before he committed the crimes for which he was jailed, the court heard.



In January last year during an online MSN conversation he told of his interest in "raping younger lads" and his sadistic desire to cause pain to children through sex.



This was passed on to police but he was declared to be "low risk" and there was not enough evidence for police to proceed with the inquiry.



He went on to rape the 10-year-old but police said his crimes could not have been prevented.



A spokesman for GMP said: "As part of a review into the handling of the initial complaint against Gareth Hulme, Greater Manchester Police's Professional Standards Branch found that the investigation was progressed in a satisfactory manner.



"Had the investigation started sooner, it was highly unlikely to have prevented the rape of Hulme's first victim."