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sabato 24 gennaio 2015
Depraved pedophile former Royal Navy jailed for 14 years
AN EX-Naval officer who admitted photographing young children as he sexually abused them, and then sending the images to other paedophiles, has been jailed for 14 years.
Geoffrey Rooney, aged 39, of Camperdown Street, Devonport, pleaded guilty to a string of offences including the rape of a child aged under 13 and sexually assaulting girl aged under 13.
Appearing at Plymouth Crown Court, Rooney made no response as Judge Paul Darlow told the former Chief Petty Officer he had caused the “destruction of a happy home life” in relation to the family of two of his victims.
He said that Rooney’s actions “demonstrate all the casual callous depravity of a predatory paedophile”.
As Rooney, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and grey tie, stood in the dock, prosecutor Jason Beale told the court how the former weapons engineer was arrested following the arrest of another man on January 9 last year whose wife found indecent pictures on his mobile phone.
The images were traced to Rooney who had asked the man to bring his own children to him for sexual abuse.
Rooney was interviewed and his mobile phone seized. The 39-year-old immediately admitted to his sexual interest in children and downloading indecent images of young children.
The court heard Rooney had pleaded guilty last May to raping a girl aged under 13, sexually assaulting another girl aged under 13, taking indecent photos of children, making indecent photos of children, distributing indecent photos of children with other suspected paedophile, sexually assaulting a boy aged under 16 and possessing indecent images of children.
Mr Beale explained how police discovered that Rooney had messaged other men “giving real time commentary” as he sexually abused one of the girls and sent nine pictures to dozens of men of him raping and sexually abusing the youngest child.
The court heard Rooney had also taken pictures of the backside of another very young boy and forwarded them onto other suspected paedophiles.
Police found hundreds of indecent photos and films on his mobile phone, ranging from category A, the most depraved including penetrative sexual activity with a child, including sadism and bestiality, to category C, the least indecent.
In mitigation, Nick Lewin, for Rooney, claimed his client was remorseful, but he questioned the current “harm” caused to the children due to their very young age.
In reply, Judge Darlow said: “For the moment, [but] who knows what may come back to haunt them.”
He also noted how Rooney had volunteered most of the offences to police, had no previous convictions and argued he should be credited for his “exemplary behaviour in service of the Royal Navy.”
Mr Lewin said Rooney had carried out a number of courses while in prison, and held a “very significant trusted position” as a “mentor” and “listener” to prison ‘lifers’.
He also said the offences – an “isolated aberration” – took place over a very short space of time and the judge could sentence Rooney “safe in the knowledge that these are isolated incidents”.
The father of two of his very young victims bravely took to the witness box to describe how Rooney’s “sickening” crime had affected his family.
Often fighting back tears the father – who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims – explained how the call from police about the images of his children was “utterly devastating”.
He said: “That day has changed my life and that of my family forever.”
He said he has been unable to return to full time work, is now untrusting of people and is under medical care for the stress and trauma of having to identify his own children from the sickening images. He said it has left him suffering unexpected and horrific flashbacks, describing how one of his child sucking on a toy left him in agony, particularly as understands the images “are to be shared and copied by paedophiles the world over, forever.”
He said Rooney’s “sick perversion”, particularly how he “gloated with others” as he abused the children was “completely incomprehensible”.
Fighting back tears, the father described how he has had to hold his crying children down as numerous doctors subjected them to a myriad of medical tests to ensure they had not contracted sexually transmitted diseases.
He said he has seen medical records which have been flagged up to social services and “fear we will forever be prejudged by doctors.”
“What this man has done to me, my family, other families, is nothing short of horrific.”
Outside court, the family of the two youngest victims issued a statement: “We’ve been through something no family should ever have to deal with. It has been heart-breaking and horrific.
“Rooney appeared to be a normal, middle-aged man, with a good career in the Royal Navy, a mortgage and a long-term relationship.
“Behind that he was a devious and manipulative child rapist who preyed on the vulnerability of families. He betrayed the trust of everyone around him.
Det Con Pete Shotton, lead investigator, said: “Rooney was a manipulator, without question. He used his skills to groom children. He was entrenched in the sexual abuse of children. He would seek opportunities to abuse children.
Det Con Shotton said the investigation, titled Operation Darkling, was “still ongoing” and said if there were further victims who were in any way connected with this case, they should come forward.