Concern at sex offender's sentence
A sex offender described as "every parent's nightmare" who escaped jail after being convicted of using social media to groom vulnerable children could have his sentence reviewed by the Court of Appeal.
Timothy Storey, 34, from Peckham, south London, was sentenced to a 36-month sex offenders programme after he posed as an 18-year-old to send hundreds of messages to girls aged 12 to 18 years old on Facebook asking them to send explicit pictures of themselves.
He also used Skype to encourage young teenage girls to take off their clothes and show him intimate parts of their bodies.
Storey pleaded guilty to eight counts of inciting children to engage in sexual activity by showing intimate parts of their bodies on social media.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent images of children on his laptop and BlackBerry, Scotland Yard said.
He was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
His sentence, imposed at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London, was condemned as "woefully inadequate" by Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, who said he had referred the case to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve.
"It appears to me to be plainly wrong and certainly unduly lenient and therefore I have spoken to the Attorney General last night and will be referring it today in writing," he said.
"I am concerned not just about this individual sentence but the wider implications and the wrong precedent that it sets when dealing with potential predators committing serious offences online.
"This sentence is out of touch with the reality of the increasing danger and threat which is actually online."
Scotland Yard said a 14-year-old girl reported that when she was 12 years old, an 18-year-old called Tim Stone had sent her sexual messages on Facebook and had asked her to send naked images of herself.
An investigation found that Tim Stone was Storey, who was using a picture of somebody else on his profile. He had 775 friends who were all young girls aged between 12-18 years old.
Storey had sent hundreds of private messages to the girls asking them to send him explicit images of themselves. He had also sent images of his genitals to a number of the girls.
He targeted a 13-year-old girl and groomed her into believing he was 18 years old, police said, encouraging her to set up a Skype account which he used to make requests for her to remove clothing and show him intimate parts of her body
Examination of a laptop seized at Storey's home showed more than 3,000 pages of Skype chat from which further victims were identified.
Detective inspector Neal Burton, of the Met's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: "Storey is every parent's nightmare, exploiting and abusing children over the internet. The victims showed much courage in coming forward to report his activities and helping to bring him to justice.
"He is a serial sex offender who I believe may have abused other victims who have not yet come forward and spoken to the police or confided in anyone else.
"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure anyone wanting to come forward with information about abuse they may have suffered at the hands of Storey that they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and specially trained detectives are on hand to speak to them."
A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said: "The Attorney General looks at these cases to consider whether they are unduly lenient. If he considers that they are, then he will send it to the Court of Appeal to look at the sentence."
Shaun Kelly, head of safeguarding at Action for Children, said: "This case highlights the need for technical solutions that will make the internet safer, as well as the continuing education of children and parents about internet safety.
"No child should suffer in silence: young people must be assured that if they speak up when someone or something online makes them feel uncomfortable, their concerns will be heard and action taken.
"In turn, parents and other adults need to be open to conversations about the internet with their children. Don't wait until something goes wrong to take an interest in a child's life online. Ongoing conversations about their activity will mean they will be more likely to approach you when a risk presents itself."