Child sex offender jailed following joint Hampshire police and SEROCU investigation
A man has been jailed for child sex offences following a joint investigation by police in Hampshire and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).
In August 2022, 57-year-old Robert Pell struck up a conversation with a person online who he believed to be a 14-year-old boy, and agreed to meet up with them at Fareham train station.
When Pell arrived at the location, he was instead met by police officers who arrested him.
He was subsequently charged with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a boy under 16 years of age following grooming.
Following Pell’s arrest, police seized his phone for examination.
The phone contained 80 indecent images of children, including images Pell had taken of himself abusing a child.
Officers from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary identified and immediately safeguarded the child, before charging Pell with two counts of taking an indecent photograph of a child, and one count of sexual activity with a child under the age of 13.
Appearing at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 13 January 2023, Pell, of the Titchfield area of Fareham, admitted all of the offences. He also admitted a further count of making indecent images of children at a hearing on 20 February.
He appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 2 March) where he was sentenced to 4 years in prison. He was also made subject to a lifelong Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), and must sign on the sex offenders register for life.
PC David Sloan, from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Pell’s crimes are nothing short of horrendous. He willingly arranged to meet with someone who he believed to be a child following a period of grooming, and the evidence that police uncovered throughout the subsequent investigation proved that he had already been actively involved in the sexual abuse of a child.
“This man poses a clear risk to children. I hope that the efforts of police and Pell’s subsequent jail sentence provides some reassurance to the community that we will do everything in our power, and use every tactic available, to identify perpetrators of child abuse, safeguard those affected, and bring offenders to justice.”
Detective Constable Colin Haynes, of SEROCU, said: “SEROCU officers worked closely in collaboration with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary to ensure a thorough investigation was carried out and that Pell was brought before a court to face the consequences of his abhorrent crimes.
“Child sexual abuse has devastating and lasting consequences for victims, so we will continue this vital work with police forces across the South East to ensure offenders who pose such a danger are identified and apprehended to face justice.”
If you have been affected by child sexual abuse you can contact police on 101 and speak to a police officer in confidence.
We recognise that not everyone has the confidence to speak to police, but there are support services available that can help you if you are a victim of abuse.
Anyone who has experienced abuse in childhood or is concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline confidentially on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111.
Help and support is also available via the confidential Stop It Now helpline – part of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Further details of this can be found on the Stop It Now website here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/