Bexhill man given six-year sentence for child sex abuse
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A Bexhill man who paid to receive photos of sexual abuse of a child in the Philippines, each one posed as he required, is now starting a six-year prison sentence, following an investigation by Sussex Police detectives working with the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) and officers in the Philippines National Police.
Michael Wilkinson, 36, a decorator, was sentenced to a total of six years imprisonment at Hove Crown Court on 10 November, having admitted inciting and facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child under 13, making indecent images of children and possessing prohibited and extreme images.
He will be a registered sex offender for life and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which severely restricts his access to children and digital devices for life, It also imposes a five-year travel restriction order on him from from the day of his release, which police can apply to renew every five years.
Detective Constable Richard Gill of the Sussex Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) said: "The investigation began in April 2020 when we received intelligence that Wilkinson was downloading indecent images of children.
"That was confirmed when we executed a warrant at his address and seized his phone and other devices, but only then as our enquiries continued did we realise that he had also been paying through a third party in the Philippines, for a girl, aged between nine and 12, to pose for indecent photos which were then sent over to him.
"In one instance he received video of her, but otherwise he received still images, in specific poses which he had ordered as part of the transaction.
"It became clear that Wilkinson had made contacts in the country whilst backpacking some years ago, and used them to make contact with the family concerned for his own sexual gratification over an extended period.
"We worked very closely with the NCA's international network, who liaised with PICACC (the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Center). They were ultimately responsible for tracking down the child in this case and safeguarding her and her sisters.
"This was a great example of inter-agency and international law enforcement co-operation which has reached out across more than 10,000 miles to take action against a predatory offender and safeguard innocent children."
See the Sussex Police website for information on child sexual exploitation and how to report it.
Also see the NCA website for information on the national response.