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Paedophile trio locked up on chat room evidence

Unprecedented convictions

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Three paedophiles who used internet chat rooms to plot to kidnap and rape two sisters were jailed for a total of 27 years at Southern Crown Court on Monday.

Police said it was the first time chat room logs alone had been used to prove conspiracy to rape charges.

David Beavan, 42, of Bransgore, Hampshire, Alan Hedgcock, 41, of Twickenham, and Robert Mayers, 42, of Warrington, had never met. Hedgcock, who was given an eight year sentence, used an incest-themed chat room to tell Beavan, who was handed 11 years imprisonment, of his plan to abuse sisters aged 13 and 14. Beavan indicated he wanted to join the attack, and the pair later recruited Mayers via the internet too.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin, QC, said the mens' conversations were "most lurid and disgusting", the BBC reports.

The logs came to light when police confiscated computers after Beavan told Bournemouth police about the plot in January 2006, claiming he was a "vigilante" gathering evidence. They revealed a detailed history of the plan, including the discussions of their targets, where and how the crime would take place, as well as thousands of child porn images.

Outside court, Detective Constable Dave Adams, of the Met's child abuse investigation command, said: "This case should act as a really stark warning that the internet is not a hiding place to plan and participate in criminal acts." ®

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