A former sports coach, who shared messages fantasising about sexually abusing babies, has been jailed after a police undercover operation discovered more than 2,300 indecent images and videos of children on his home computer.
Paedophile Stuart McNeil, who previously worked in Warrington as a basketball coach and was a paralympic torchbearer, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court, yesterday, Thursday 21 October where he was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
The 39-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing indecent images of children, three counts of making indecent images of children and two counts of intentionally encouraging the commission of a sexual offence.
McNeil, of Baker Drive, Great Sutton, also admitted two counts of inciting a child aged 13 or under to engage in sexual activity, possession of indecent images of children and possession of extreme pornography.
The investigation began on 4 July 2019 when he made contact with an undercover police officer on the social media network KIK.
The officer was posing as a fellow paedophile and he told McNeil that his partner was expecting a child, which was due any day.
McNeil told the officer that he was single and lived in the North West of England, he then went on to talk about the fantasies he had about children, specifically babies, and what he would like to do to them.
Over the following weeks he had further conversations with the officer relating to sexually abusing children, he also shared a number of indecent images and videos.
On 22 July 2019 the undercover officer revealed that his partner had given birth. Following the news McNeil spoke about arranging to meet at a hotel in Ellesmere Port so he could abuse the child, even going as far as asking the officer if he wanted to watch.
After gathering sufficient evidence, officers executed a warrant at his home in Great Sutton on Thursday 8 August 2019 and McNeil was arrested.
During the raid, police seized a number of electronic devices on which officers discovered more than 2,300 indecent images and videos of children.
McNeil was subsequently charged in connection with the offences.
Following his sentencing, Detective Constable Leanne Brundrett, from Cheshire Constabulary’s Online Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Firstly, I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank the undercover officer, their work is extremely difficult and they often don’t receive the recognition they deserve.
“The messages and images posted by McNeil were extremely disturbing, and when communicating with the officer he went into graphic detail about what he wanted to do to children.
“Having analysed his computers we know that McNeil was also speaking to a number of other people online about his sexual fantasies. Within these messages he often exchanged indecent images and on some occasions he even discussed meeting up so that they could abuse children together.
“On top of this, he also possessed more than 2,300 indecent images of vulnerable victims for his own sexual gratification – behind each of these images was a child suffering.
“Thankfully, as a result of our investigation McNeil has now been brought to justice and he is facing the consequences of his actions.
“While this case is now closed, I would like to reassure residents that we remain committed to pursuing and bringing to justice those who engage in online child sexual activity and those who play a part in the sexual abuse of children.”
In addition to his custodial sentence, McNeil must comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for six years and sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life..
To report a sexual offence call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report. Information can also be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.