At a recent hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, Ian Evans, 37, explained that he had been “looking at things [he] should not have been looking at.” The court charged him with two counts of possessing indecent images of children, one count of taking indecent images of children, and one count of voyeurism. Not only had Evans watched child abuse content on the darknet, he had also slipped cameras under the doors in public restrooms to capture his own images. Judge Tom Crowther QC sentenced the 37-year-old to 18-months in prison.
Evans’ case resembled a case DeepDotWeb recently covered that involved a a 54-year-old Maryland man, a gymnastics center for children, a backpack with a hidden camera, and the darknet child abuse forum “Playpen.” In the Maryland case, Jonathan Oldale got caught after he had placed a backpack in front of a toilet in a bathroom. The backpack had a hidden camera that, unfortunately for Oldale, had a glowing red light when turned on. Oldale had been using Playpen and hoped to upload content of his own.
In Wales, Evans also wanted his own content. Below the surface, the cases had fundamental differences. Evans did not wake up one morning and decide he would start sticking cameras under bathroom door stalls in random attempts to catch individuals in compromising positions. No, Evans found himself spending more time in public restrooms after he discovered a website dedicated to helping men meetup at specific bathrooms around Wales. After his arrest, Evans told the police that he had developed a “compulsion” to meet men in random bathrooms.
After anonymous-bathroom-stall sex stopped giving him the rush he said he desired, Evans told the court that he learned about child abuse sites on the darknet. He said these child abuse sites provided him with his “next buzz” and that they kept him attentive for some time. He explained that he preferred children that looked aware of the abuse and explained that the abuse of infants sickened him because “they did not know what was going on.” The judge countered, telling Evans that even the youngest children “know what they are doing and it never leaves them. It blights lives.”
Despite his alleged distaste for Category A child abuse content, Evans had downloaded more than 40 Category A pictures and videos. He had downloaded another 30 Category B pictures and videos. All of the content had come from the darknet, he explained. Officers also seized a camera and memory stick. The collection of “home videos” taken in public restrooms surprised them. Many of the videos featured adults. Evans said that some of the individuals in the videos had allowed him to video them in the stalls. Many of the others—including the children—fell into Evans’ “collateral damage” category.
In addition to the 18-month incarceration, Judge Tom Crowther QC required a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order placed on Evans.