Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hi-tech crimes...

Just imagine that you lived a few centuries ago and found a newspaper from the future and read about this kind of a crime ... uh oh!

'Internet rape' paedophile jailed

Thursday November 9, 2006 Guardian Unlimited

A paedophile who took remote control of teenage girls' computers from his home and terrorised them into sending intimate images of themselves was jailed today for 10 years.

Posing as a teenage boy on internet chatrooms, Adrian Ringland, 36, would first get his victims' email addresses. He would then send them an email containing a virus that allowed him to hack into their computers.

Targeting girls on both sides of the Atlantic, he would visibly take control of their PCs, moving cursors around, switching on printers and, in one case, opening and closing the CD-Rom drawer.

He asked his terrified victims, who were as young as 14, to send him indecent images and pose for him on their webcams. Ringland would send the girls threatening messages if they did not comply, warning that he would crash their machines.

The case is thought to feature the most technologically advanced form of online grooming by a paedophile to have come before the British courts.

Ringland, a father of two, who police believe was self taught in IT skills, targeted teenagers in the UK and Canada, thousands of miles away from his home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

He was sentenced today at inner London crown court after pleading guilty to 20 charges relating to the internet abuse of three girls in Britain and a Canadian girl aged 14, including 10 offences of making indecent photographs of a child.

In each case, Ringland had posed as an "attractive and innocent-looking" teenager called Ant Jones, sending his victims photographs of a young boy, whom he claimed to be.

The photograph contained a virus, known as a Trojan, that allowed him to establish remote control of his victims' computers.

Lisa Wilding, prosecuting, told the court, the virus had enabled Ringland to "manipulate and distort" systems "in order to frighten the girls into doing as he ordered ... to terrorise them".

She said: "It is a startling tale that will bring home to you the horrors that lurk within the internet and the minds of some individuals who use it."

One of his victims said his considerable IT expertise reminded her of the science fiction film The Matrix. Another described her ordeal as "internet rape", while a third threatened to commit suicide in the wake of the abuse.

The court heard that once Ringland felt he had the children under his control, he forced them to provide ever more explicit pictures of themselves. He warned that refusal would result in the pictures he already had being sent to their friends, or that valuable files would be wiped from their computers.

Ringland was convinced he was untouchable, boasting to one child: "Call the cops ... they won't trace me."

However, he was caught after a 14-year-old Canadian girl, who lived in a remote rural area, ignored his threats and told her parents, who alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

After an extensive hi-tech investigation, officers eventually cracked the array of electronic defences Ringland had created and traced him to his home, 4,000 miles away.

Ringland, who was unemployed and living with his partner at the time, was eventually arrested by local police, and bailed. A random check later caught him having sex with a 14-year-old girl, whom he had also groomed on the internet.

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