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Man jailed for 20 years after admitting numerous child sex offences

A 53-year-old man has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after admitting thirteen child sex offences.

Luke Smith, of Hewitt Road, Portsmouth, used an online messaging service to speak to a man in the USA while posing as a 20-year-old woman and using a pseudonym. He then persuaded the man to sexually abuse his partner’s son who was aged 20 months at the time on camera.

Officers conducted the investigation in conjunction with the USA’s FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), who arrested the man as soon as the assaults were discovered by the victim’s mother. He has been imprisoned ever since.

Smith, who lived in Orchard Way, Barnham, at the time of the offences, was arrested and numerous devices were seized, including his laptop computer and phone, where chat logs were found, containing the dozens of requests Smith made for the victim to be abused. The offences occurred between July 2018 and December 2019.

Smith was charged and appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court following an extensive investigation on Friday August 19 where he pleaded guilty to nine counts of encouraging the penetrative sexual assault of a child under 13 and four counts of making indecent images of children – some of which were category A, which are deemed to be the most extreme. He was sentenced on Wednesday August 31. He will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Detective Sergeant David Rose from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) said: “Luke Smith is a predatory paedophile who thought he could hide by committing his crimes online while pretending to be a different gender and using a fake name.

“Although Smith’s actions cannot be undone, we hope that his admission of guilt and long custodial sentence will bring some form of closure to the victim and his family.

“His actions are amongst the most reprehensible the team have encountered, and I thank them for their strength and professionalism throughout the investigation. We would also like to place on record our thanks to the FBI for their help and transparency during the investigation”.

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