Police on the Isle of Wight have been undertaking proactive operations to target paedophiles and safeguard children.
Paul Allen, aged 37 years, of Hinton Road in Newport was jailed today (31 May) for 16 years following an investigation led by the Isle of Wight Investigations Team, with support from officers of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).
Allen was arrested by police on 27 September 2021 on suspicion of arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
He had been speaking on a number of online platforms with a person who he believed to be a child, and agreed to meet this person at Newport Recreation Ground.
The individual he had been speaking with was in fact a police officer, and Allen was met by police at the recreation ground where he was arrested.
He was subsequently charged with arranging the commission of a child sex offence, and possession of cannabis, both of which he pleaded guilty to during a hearing at the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court the following morning.
A few days later, on 3 October, police received a report that Allen had sexually abused a teenage boy over the summer.
Police were told that the 14-year-old child had met Allen over the dating app Grindr in March 2021, and the pair communicated over Whatsapp where Allen shared explicit images of himself.
The pair met in person and the boy was abused by Allen, including an incident in June where Allen seriously sexually assaulted the boy in woodland in the Carisbrooke area.
Allen was arrested again, before he was charged with further offences and remanded in custody.
During this time, police continued to examine data on Allen’s phone while he was on remand, where they discovered he had previously messaged other children via WhatsApp, Snapchat, Grindr and Kik. He had also sent indecent images of children, and enquiries established he had also abused another teenage boy between 2014 and 2016.
Other messages on the phone indicated that Allen had tried to sell cannabis to people around the Newport area.
Allen was again charged with further offences.
Appearing at Winchester Crown Court on Monday 25 April 2022, Allen admitted the following:
2 counts of meeting a boy under 16 following grooming
6 counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child
4 counts of engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a boy aged 13-15
3 counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child
2 counts of arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence
Causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity
Offering to supply cannabis
Appearing at the same court today (Tuesday 31 May), he was sentenced to 16 years in prison with an extended licence period of six years.
In a similar operation to target child sex abusers, and running concurrent to the investigation into Allen, officers arrested 46-year-old Paul Elvins, formerly of St Johns Road in Sandown.
Elvins, like Allen, struck up a conversation online with someone he believed to be a child.
On 2 November 2021, Elvins was arrested and subsequently charged with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
He was remanded in custody whilst Isle of Wight officers conducted further enquiries and continued to interrogate his digital devices.
Elvins was charged in January this year with 19 further offences:
16 counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child
One count of attempting to cause/incite the sexual exploitation of a child aged 13-17
2 counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child
He admitted all of the offences in court and on 6 May this year he was jailed for 4 years and 8 months.
Chief Inspector Alex Charge: “These investigations uncovered an appalling catalogue of child sex offences. I am grateful to all of the detectives and officers who worked incredibly hard to establish the full extent of the offending by these men, both in the lead up to and following their arrests.
“Allen and Elvins are dangerous men who pose a risk to children, and I hope the public remain reassured that officers on the Island are making every effort, and utilising every tactic available to them to identify perpetrators of this type of abuse, bring them to justice, and safeguard the children who have been harmed.
“We will continue to target these offenders as a priority, and we encourage anyone who has been impacted by this kind of abuse to please get in touch with police so that our specially trained officers can listen to you, protect you, and provide you with the support you need.
“Not everyone has the confidence to speak to police. We recognise this and want those who aren’t comfortable talking to police to know that there are other support agencies out there that can help you.”
Detective Inspector James Oxley, of SEROCU, said: “These convictions send out a clear message to those who use the internet to attempt to abuse children - every effort will be made to ensure you face the consequences of your actions.
“The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit worked closely in collaboration with Hampshire Constabulary on these cases as part of our commitment to make our communities safer, to ensure Allen and Elvins were no longer able to pose a danger to children and were brought to court to face justice.”
Tracy Kent, Deputy CEO of Hampton Trust, said: “Hampton Trust Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) play an important role in providing specialist tailored support to victims and survivors of sexual violence, irrespective of whether they have reported to the police.
“ISVAs provide impartial information to the victim/survivor about all their options, such as reporting to the police, accessing Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services, and specialist support such as pre-trial therapy and sexual violence counselling.
“This service is free to all IOW residents of any age, gender and sexuality.”
The support offered by an ISVA is tailored to the identified needs of the victim/survivor. For further information on the Hampton Trust ISVA service, please visit www.hamptontrust.org.uk or call the Adult ISVA Service (18+) on: 07376083950/07776959829
For Child & Young Person referrals contact: 07435996248
Help and support is also available via the confidential Stop It Now helpline – part of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Further details of this can be found on the Stop It Now website here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/