‘Depraved’ pervert caught in police sting

Stephen Byrne.
Stephen Byrne.

AN IT technician was caught by undercover police after arranging to sexually abuse children.

Steven Byrne was told by a judge that he had “plumbed the depths of depravity” after hearing the vile nature of his offending.

Byrne, who was given an extended prison sentence totalling eight years, was arrested during a police operation to catch paedophiles online.

Leeds Crown Court heard Byrne made contact with a fake profile set up by officers in an internet forum.

Byrne believed he was chatting to a father-of-three and sent messages about wanting to have sex with babies and children.

Byrne stated that he was looking for parents who were prepared to let him have sex with their children. During the course of the internet exchanges Byrne sent graphic images of child abuse.

Deborah Smithies, prosecuting, said Byrne arranged a meeting at an ASDA car park in Doncaster in June this year believing he was meeting a parent and child and intended to sexually abuse the youngster.

Byrne, of Elm Place, Knottingley, was instead met by police officers and arrested.

He pleaded guilty to arranging or facilitating a child sexual offence and three offences of making indecent images of a child. The prosecutor said: “The view expressed is that this defendant presents a high risk of serious harm to children.”

Marcus Waite, mitigating, said Byrne, an IT technician, pleaded guilty to offences at an early stage. He said: “The defendant has indicated that he does not want access to the internet ever again.”

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told Bryne he considered him to pose a serious risk of causing physical or physiological harm to children in the future.

Byrne must serve a custodial period of four years, followed by a further four years on licence. He said: “It is difficult to imagine a more depraved case such as this.”

PIC: James Hardisty

New plans revealed for abandoned Leeds city centre hotel site