The pandemic has changed life as we know it.
Lockdown had a huge impact on children and adults alike, with both having to either work or learn from home as we were limited to just an hour of exercise outdoors each day.
As a result, many turned to the internet and video calls in order to keep in regular contact with friends and family.
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However, lockdown also increased the vulnerability of children and the disgusting sexual predators seeking to exploit them.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, one in six children (17 per cent) aged 10 to 15 spoke with someone they had never met before in the last 12 months.
Around 1 in 10 children (11 per cent) aged 13 to 15, meanwhile, reported receiving a sexual message and 1 in 100 reported sending a sexual message.
My London has looked back at the vile cases in which paedophiles preyed on children across the capital over lockdown.
(Image: Kent Police)
A sex offender who turned up to a supermarket car park hoping to meet a mother and then ‘sexually abuse her 10-year-old child in the most abhorrent ways’ was jailed in June earlier this year.
Maurice Clayton was arrested in September last year after travelling 30 miles to meet a woman he believed would allow him access to her 10-year-old daughter, whom he intended to sexually abuse.
Clayton, 60, met the woman through a pornographic website, but was actually talking to Kent Police.
He continued to speak to the woman through a separate social media site, and made repeated comments about his intentions to commit ‘serious sexual offences’ against the child. Within these conversations he also shared indecent images.
A month later Clayton travelled from his home in Biggin Hill, in South East London, to a car park in Strood, Kent, where he planned to meet the mother of the child. He was apprehended by Kent Police and arrested upon arrival.
Clayton was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in Maidstone Crown Court this week. He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.
Dean and Leanne Edmunds
A “disgusting” paedophile filmed himself raping young girls and was in possession of “the worst type child abuse images” police have ever seen.
Dean Edmunds, 36, also took hundreds of images of girls and women of all ages on public transport, changing rooms and other locations, including “upskirting” children.
An investigation led by a team of 10 Metropolitan Police officers was launched in July 2020 and led to the seizure of 11 electronic devices belonging to Edmunds, who is from South East London.
These were later found to contain huge amounts of indecent images, as well as videos of his wife, Leanne, “engaging in a sexual act” with the family dog.
Edmunds was found to have raped and abused four children, all girls, and was jailed for 18 years in May.
His wife Leanne received a three-year community order.
(Image: Essex Police)
A paedophile was jailed for three years and three months after arranging to meet who he believed was a 12-year-old girl to have sex.
Bhusan Chettri, 36, formerly of Merchant Street in Mile End, Tower Hamlets, posed as a 16-year-old boy on social media to speak to who he thought was a young girl.
Over the course of a month he sent sexual images, and then arranged to meet her on December 2 last year to engage in sexual activity, a court heard.
The 36-year-old was jailed on April 20, placed on the Sex Offenders Register and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for an indefinite period of time.
(Image: Innocent Voices Team)
A Mitcham man who was stung by so-called paedophile hunters after they posed as a 14-year-old girl online was spared jail.
Kenny Johnson, 25, had arranged to meet the girl close to Hemel Hempstead station on July 1 last year, but was confronted by members of The Innocent Voices Team, a group of volunteers ‘that attempt to protect children from online grooming’.
He appeared at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday (April 7) to be sentenced for two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child.
Johnson was given a 24-month community order, placed on the sex offenders register for five years and must undertake 40 hours of unpaid work.
(Image: Met Police)
A sex offender who was lured by so-called paedophile hunters into thinking he was meeting a 14-year-old girl in a Croydon park was jailed.
Simon Landsberg was filmed arriving in Ashburton Park, in Woodside, in an attempt to meet who he thought was a teenage girl.
The 68-year-old believed he had been speaking to three girls online, but he was in fact chatting to members of paedophile hunting groups posing as 14-year-old girls.
Croydon Crown Court heard Landsberg, of High Street, Godstone, had the “intent of committing sexual offences” when he was confronted during the attempted rendezvous on June 20 last year, as reported by Surrey Live.
Landsberg was handed a prison sentence of 44 months, with an extended licence period of 36 months. Judge Hiddleston made an order for a new SHPO, as well as the forfeiture and destruction of the items seized during police searches.
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(Image: Met Police)
A man from South East London has been sentenced to three years in prison after he was found breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order by messaging underage girls.
Steven Baldock, 51, from Erith, contacted a 12-year-old girl via Instagram in November 2020 to engage in conversation and he also sent a picture of himself. He then subsequently contacted other underage girls.
In 2016, Baldock had been convicted of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 24 months. He was placed on the sexual offences register for 10 years and given a SHPO under the conditions that he was not to use the internet to contact or attempt to contact minors.
Residents who lived with Baldock became aware of him contacting underage girls, and thus breaking the conditions of his SHPO, in November 2020 and reported it to the police.
Baldock was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court on January 18.
A ‘remorseless’ rapist was jailed for a sickening attack on a 15-year-old schoolgirl as she waited at a London bus stop.
Deangelo Brown’s victim was wearing her uniform and on her way to class, she was approached on Harlesden High Street on March 10 last year.
The 23-year-old demanded the young victim follow him, suggesting he may have a weapon.
After raping her in a nearby alleyway, he raped gave her £10 as he left the scene.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison and four years on licence thereafter.
A Hackney paedophile who sexually assaulted two children and shared indecent images of youngsters on WhatsApp was jailed.
Abraham Berger, 40, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on January 14 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two children under the age of 13, taking indecent photographs of children and distributing them on the internet.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Berger was part of an instant messaging chat group that discussed the sexual abuse of children, and shared indecent videos and images with each other.
A number of the videos showed Berger himself committing the abuse.
He was jailed for 14 years.
(Image: Met Police)
A man who drove over four hours to London in order to sexually abuse young children was jailed.
James Ritchie, 30, of Ballroyd Road, Huddersfield, travelled more than 190 miles in July 2020 with the intention of committing the vile offences in Clapham.
He even said he was not sure if he could control himself if he came into contact with children under six years old.
He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment at the Inner London Crown Court on May 21.