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Paedophile gang who raped babies and toddlers to get longer sentences

Robin Hollyson and Christopher Knight
Robin Hollyson and Christopher Knight

A convicted sex offender from East Yorkshire is among a gang of paedophiles facing lengthy prison sentences after raping and abused babies, toddlers and children in attacks that were streamed over the internet.

The ring preyed on the families of the youngsters they targeted, in one case grooming a mother and father before their baby was born.

Members would often travel long distances to carry out sickening attacks together, or watch the abuse over the internet if only one had access to a victim.

Chilling online chat revealed that members of the gang, who lived across the UK, would offer advice to others on how to drug young victims.

The seven men - aged between 31 and 51 and including three previously convicted sex offenders - will appear before Bristol Crown Court to be sentenced.

The hearing, before Judge Julian Lambert, is expected to take two days, with the men expected to receive their sentences on Friday.

Together, they have been convicted of 30 child sex abuse offences, including conspiracy to rape and the rape of a child under the age of 13.

They are:

:: Christopher Knight, 35, from Manchester

:: John Denham, formally known as Benjamin Harrop, 50, from Wiltshire

:: Adam Toms, 33, from Somerset

:: Matthew Stansfield, 35, from Hampshire - a convicted sex offender

:: Robin Hollyson, previously known as Robin Fallick, 31, from Bedfordshire - a convicted sex offender

:: David Harsley, 51, from East Yorkshire - a convicted sex offender

:: Matthew Lisk, 33, from East Sussex

The National Crime Agency launched its investigation, codenamed Operation Voicer, last September after Toms contacted police and admitted he had abused a child.

Their inquiries led to the unmasking of the ring operating across the UK, which had links to other paedophiles across the world.

In the weeks that followed, the other six members were arrested and a further two victims were identified.

Another 21 children have been the subject of "safeguarding" measures in relation to the investigation.

The NCA has worked closely with the Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Humberside, Wiltshire and Sussex police forces, as well as the Crown Prosecution Service and nine local authorities.

Police combed the suspects' electronic communications and established that contact between them began on adult online sex forums, which are publicly accessible and legal to use.