Computer expert targeted children in online perversion

A software analyst has been sentenced for inciting a girl as young as eight to expose herself to him on a '˜talk to strangers' website.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th October 2016, 6:25 pm
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:52 am

Arran Gallagher, 28, of Lancaster, used the online chat and video site Omegle to target 10 victims and possessed thousands of images of child abuse.

He pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to seven counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and four counts of making indecent photos of children.

He was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years, given a five-year sexual harm prevention order and told to undergo 50 hours of rehabilitation.

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The National Crime Agency launched an investigation in February 2015 after receiving intelligence.

Officers executed a search warrant at his home and seized his laptop and several external hard drives.

Gallagher provided his passwords after notice was served on him.

During the webchats – which he recorded and kept – Gallagher repeatedly exposed himself to the children and instructed them to reveal their bodies.

One of the girls was thought to be between eight and 10 years old; others between 10 and 12.

Gallagher had 2,386 abuse images in total with 160 Category A pictures of child abuse - the most serious category.

The indictment covered offending from March to August 2014.

When interviewed he gave no-comment replies.

Craig Orrick, NCA operations manager, said: “I’d appeal to parents to be really vigilant about what their children are doing online.

“Gallagher fuelled the abuse of children by stocking up on thousands of sick images, but he also directed new abuse through his webcam.

“Unsuspecting kids are clearly at risk from predators like Gallagher who use these websites to exploit their innocence.”