Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

'Fantasist' denies baby rape claims

A paedophile has denied he planned to abuse a baby with other men he met over the internet.

Matthew Stansfield, 34, said he was a fantasist who achieved sexual gratification from talking to other men online about child abuse - but not doing it himself as that would be a "step too far".

Bristol Crown Court has heard how members of the gang raped and abused a baby and a pre-school child in attacks that were shared over the internet.

Some would travel long distances to carry out the attacks together or watch via hi-tech video conferencing software if only one had access to the victim.

Five of the gang - Robin Hollyson, 30, Christopher Knight, 35, Adam Toms, 33, David Harsley, 51, and Matthew Lisk, 32 - have pleaded guilty to a range of offences, including rape of a child and conspiracy to rape a child during 2013 and 2014.

Stansfield and co-accused John Denham, 49 - who was previously known as Benjamin Harrop, have denied conspiracy to rape a child and are on trial.

Members of the gang would contact each other using Skype, video conferencing software and other online chatrooms.

Stansfield, a gay man who runs his own business, said he had been promiscuous in the past and had taken part in orgies with other men.

Explaining what turned him on, he told the court: "Thinking and doing are two separate things. My sexual gratification comes from talking to others about private and taboo subjects."

Jurors have heard that Stansfield drove from his home in Hampshire on the morning on February 5 and remained in the area for several hours before returning home.

Under cross-examination from prosecutor Christopher Davies, he told the court that the reason for his trip was to watch films and photographs of child abuse at a "party" hosted by another man.

"The purpose of the visit on February 5 was to watch indecent images of children. I would not travel to Bedfordshire to watch porn," he said.

Mr Davies replied: "Exactly, Mr Stansfield. It's about the abuse of a baby in that narrow window of opportunity. Robin Hollyson has access to that baby and you are there waiting.

"The abuse had happened and you had to make your own way home."

Stansfield said: "The purpose of that visit was to try and engage in sexual activity with anybody turning up.

"I anticipated there was going to be three or four people viewing indecent images and there would be mutual masturbation. It's effectively a Zoom room (an online file sharing network) but in real life.

"I didn't know there was a baby. By the time I knew about the baby, the abuse had already happened.

"I am trying to put into place a fantasy plan that I am never going to carry out. It was not me that had taken part in that sexual abuse.

"I don't think Robin Hollyson needed any encouragement to do what he was doing long before I came on the scene.

"I personally didn't want to overstep the boundary of contact abuse with a baby," he insisted.

"I agree that people were doing sexual things to that baby but I did not want to see live abuse - I had a problem with indecent images of children."

Mr Davies asked: "Why not the real thing?"

The defendant replied: "Because that was a step too far."

Stansfield has pleaded not guilty to two charges of conspiracy to rape a child under 13 and one alternative charge of conspiracy to sexually assault a child under the age of 13. He has also pleaded guilty to child pornography offences.

Denham, of Wiltshire, denies a charge of conspiracy to rape a child under the age of 13 and the alternative of conspiracy to sexually assault a child under the age of 13.

He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child, which also involved Lisk and Harsley, and child pornography offences.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


From Belfast Telegraph