Two paedophiles from Devon who sexuality assaulted a child and livestreamed the abuse to an American paedophile via skype have been jailed today, 26th October.
Craig Forbes, 36 from Torquay and Sarah Gotham, 34 from Plymouth were sentenced to a total of 17 years at Plymouth Crown Court.
The pair were found guilty of multiple sexual assaults against a girl under the age of 13. Gotham was jailed for nine years and Forbes for eight years.
They came to the attention of police after the FBI arrested a man in Florida for the possession of indecent images of children, in Florida. Which led them to Kori Ellis, a paedophile in San Francisco who had struck up an online friendship with Gotham and Forbes.
Gotham and Forbes streamed the live abuse; the child victim was believed to have been drugged at the time to Ellis via Skype between December 2012 and March 2013.
First arrested in 2015, Gotham was bailed, with Forbes jailed for 20 months. Devon and Cornwall police travelled to San Francisco in 2016 to obtain a witness statement from Ellis, Ellis also positively identified Gotham as the woman she saw abusing a child via webcam. Forbes and Gotham were re-arrested and later charged.
Detective Sergeant Brian Slade, from the Devon and Cornwall Paedophile Online Investigation Unit, said he was pleased with the outcome of this case:
“We welcome the verdict which has led to these depraved people being put behind bars.
“Gotham and Forbes carried out horrendous acts on a vulnerable child. While Forbes admitted what he had done, Gotham has acted completely without remorse and has always claimed that she had nothing to do with it. Her defence, which the jury saw through, was that the woman on the live stream was someone else calling themselves Sarah and using her Skype account.
“Forbes is clearly a very dangerous sex offender. However hard we find it as a society to believe that females can enter into such actions for their own enjoyment, the fact of the matter is that there is no excusing that both Gotham and Ellis are paedophiles who acted purely for their own pleasure.
“Ellis was very open from the start. She gave an extraordinary account about her behaviour and what had happened with Gotham and Forbes. It is unusual for a paedophile to be so frank; she was a compelling witness although her evidence was clearly distasteful, and at times harrowing for the jury to listen to in court.
“This was an incredibly complex case, and the police would like to thank both the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and our colleagues in the American law enforcement agencies, who couldn’t do enough to help us.
“It was also extremely rare for FBI agents to give evidence in person in a UK court. We would also praise the judge and jury in this case who sat later into the evening on a number of days to accommodate the time difference for USA witnesses.
“Today’s sentence is also testament to how hard our police investigation team has worked to overcome such obstacles to bring this case to court. This sends a very strong message that we will do everything we can to ensure that the victims of such heinous crimes are safeguarded and offenders are brought to justice.”
Howard Phillips, Senior Crown Prosecutor, praised the assistance given by international law enforcement which brought these offenders to UK attention.
He said: “With the assistance of San Francisco Police Department and the FBI, the CPS was able to secure witness testimony from an American prisoner who later gave evidence in court; that with technical evidence found on devices seized in the USA was used to present a strong case.
“This case shows that wherever online sexual abuse is uncovered, we can work with international law enforcement agencies to pursue offenders and bring them before the courts.”
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