Hanmer pervert posed as Justin Beiber to groom girls

Published date: 27 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A PERVERT posed as pop star Justin Bieber to groom young girls on the internet.

Richard Raymond Barlow, now 24, also pretended to be a teenage boy and even a young girl on music sites to meet children and young people.

Police who seized his computer found shocking scenes – including a screen film he had made which showed a naked girl aged seven indulging in a sex act.

Barlow had a fetish for feet and persuaded other girls to show their feet to him via his webcam.

Some children simply switched their computers off when he suggested they indulge in sex acts – but others naively agreed.

He had threatened some of them that if they did not do it he would upload films he had already made of them onto the internet for their family and friends to see.

At Mold Crown Court Barlow, of Big Arowry, near Hanmer, was jailed for three years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

He admitted 16 charges – inciting a child aged seven to engage in sexual activity which involved penetration, three charges of engaging in sexual activity with a child over the internet and a dozen charges of making indecent images and films after 2,200 images and 116 films were discovered on his computer.

Judge Peter Heywood said that Barlow must have been aware of the age of some of the children involved.

He admitted grooming children, watching children indulging in sex acts and using headphones and cameras to speak to them and to record some of what was going on.

The most serious offence involved a naked girl aged seven but others involved girls aged 10 and 11 who were clothed, the judge said.

Indecent images of children had also been downloaded off the internet.

“It is clear that for a significant period of time you have had an unhealthy interest in this sort of activity,” said Mr Heywood.

“You engaged in conversation with young girls to encourage them to engage in sexual activity with them.

“Heaven knows how they will be affected in their future lives.”

The downloaded images were also serious.

“They may seem to be only images but they are young children being exploited by others.

“I would be failing in my public duty if I did anything other than pass an immediate custodial sentence,” Mr Heywood said.

Barlow was made the subject of a SOPO – a sexual offences prevention order – to curb his future activities.

Jonathan Austin, prosecuting, said Barlow lived with his parents and police seized computer equipment when they executed a search warrant in September 2012.

He admitted using ‘Lucy Loves Music’ and other identities on the internet as a way of chatting with children while posing as a much young person than the 22 and 23 he was at the time.

Asked if he had been looking at children on the interest he said that he did not know how old they were.

Later interviewed he made no comment.

Owen Edwards, defending, said that it was a sad case of a young man with special educational needs who had pretended to be Justin Bieber and others younger than himself to entice naive young girls.

Barlow was genuinely remorseful and would take advantage of any courses while in custody.

Barlow was a young man of previously good character who had been hard working in the retail trade, but he gave it up because of the proceedings. He came from a good family and while his parents supported him they were mortified by what he had done.

After Barlow was jailed, DC Rachel Garbutt, of Wrexham CID, said: “These types of offences will not be tolerated. These offences are never victimless and people who commit them will be dealt with accordingly by the police and the courts.”

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