Pervert jailed over global chatroom

Behind the smile was the darkest of secrets - this is the face of the “obsessive” pervert who ran a worldwide internet child abuse network from his family's farmhouse in East Anglia.

Behind the smile was the darkest of secrets - this is the face of the “obsessive” pervert who ran a worldwide internet child abuse network from his family's farmhouse in East Anglia.

Timothy David Martin Cox appeared to friends and neighbours as an hardworking man with a regular girlfriend who helped run his family's micro-brewery business in Suffolk.

But from his bedroom at the family home, he ran a vile internet chatroom where hundreds of paedophiles across the globe were able to download images and film of babies and children being raped and abused.

The 28-year-old, who lived with his parents, sister and 26-year-old girlfriend in Buxhall, near Stowmarket, was yesterday handed a jail sentence which could see him stay behind bars for the rest of his life.

As a result of one of the biggest ever crackdowns on online child abusers - involving agencies from 35 countries around the world - police have rescued at least 15 British children from horrific sex crimes.

But last night campaigners warned that as soon as one website is shut down another opens.

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Michele Elliott, founder of the child protection charity Kidscape, said: “We have been saying for many years that the typical sex offender is not a scruffy looking man in a dirty mac.

“The more successful ones do not fit that kind of image at all.

“And sadly I don't think we'll ever be able to stop this kind of activity because the internet is so wide-ranging.

“The sad fact is that as soon as one of these operations is closed down another will take its place.”

Cox hosted a website called “Kids the Light of Our Lives” and hid behind the online identity Son of God.

Police found that he had nearly 76,000 images of children on his computer plus 1,100 videos which would have taken 316 hours to watch back-to-back.

There was also evidence that he had supplied nearly 11,500 images to other paedophiles and sent an average of 200 images a day.

He was arrested in September 2006 and admitted nine offences in February this year.

Sitting at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge Peter Thompson said some of the shocking images showed very young children being subjected to “sadistic” abuse.

“These are shocking images which involve very young children, in the worst cases, being subjected to sadistic, painful abuse which you for some distorted reason appear to take enjoyment from.

“You are obsessed with images of children being sexually abused.”

The minimum jail term set by the judge was just one year and seven months - but Cox will only be released when he is no longer a danger to the public.

The judge also disqualified Cox from working with children for an indefinite period and imposed a range of limitations on access he could be allowed to the internet.

Cox will remain on licence for the rest of his life.

Prosecutor Mr Spence said: “He was running a chat room on the internet which paedophiles from all over the world could access.

“He lived with his parents and 26-year-old girlfriend in a farmhouse.

“In reality he was living a double life. For what must have been hours at a time he was online either viewing these images of children, arranging the chat room or communicating with other paedophiles.

“Some of these films are of users of the chat room actually abusing their own children and filming themselves, then posting it in the chat room.”

Greg Perrin, for Cox, said his client had not encouraged the abuse of children but was aware of the possibility that it could happen.

He said there was no evidence that Cox had personally abused children and that his use of the website was a form of sexual fantasy.

The family's microbrewery Cox and Holbrook run by Cox's father David was started in late 1997, stopped during December 2001 - when the business moved - and restarted during the late summer of 2003.

It brews real ales with names such as Uncle Stan and Goodcock's Winner sold at pubs around Suffolk.

There was no answer at the family home last night but a police chaplain was brought to the farm and officers said Cox's parents did not want to speak to the media.

One local who did not want to be named said: “I met him once when I went to the farm to buy some beer.

“The brewery is in an outbuilding and he gave me a tour.

“He seemed perfectly nice and normal.

“To be honest having heard what I've heard today I just feel sick.”