NEWSNorth Yorkshire News


A 15-year-old tech-wizard has helped North Yorkshire Police to jail a prolific sex offender from York.

The young detective purchased an old mobile phone from a car boot sale last summer whilst pursuing his interest in technology and fixing broken phones.

After turning the phone on, he managed to gain access after discovering the passcode was saved as the lock screen image.

It was then that he was automatically subjected to a series of indecent images that appeared unprompted as a slideshow, alongside text notes about child abuse.

Once the slideshow had finished, a sinister message appeared on the screen referring to hopes that a young child would find the phone followed by more disturbing images and references about the phone’s previous owner.

The teen, who was understandably horrified by what he had seen, attended a police station along with his mother to hand in the phone and provide officers with details about what he had discovered.

North Yorkshire Police carried out an extensive investigation and were able to identify the owner of the phone as 51-year-old registered sex offender Karl Fox, of Burton Stone Lane in York.

Thanks to evidence found on the phone officers were able to prove that Fox had breached a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) fifteen times.

The SHPO had been handed to him in 2004 following offences of outraging public decency.

They also uncovered further pseudo indecent images of children and graphic self-written fantasies about child sexual abuse on a number of other phones that were found at his home address.

Fox was arrested and remanded in custody before he appeared at York Crown Court at the end of last month charged with:

15 x breaches of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) preventing him from attending any beach, public park, or coastline.

3 x indecent image of children offences including make/take, distribute, and possess.

On Friday 23rd February he was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, handed an indefinite registered sexual offender (RSO) status and given a SHPO preventing him from-

Using any computer of device capable of accessing the interest. The same applies to any software capable of storing images and data

Must not have contact with any child under the age of 16 unless inadvertent and not readily avoidable

Leaving or being away from his registered address without wearing a fully functional and charged monitoring device

Entering any house where any young person under the age of 16 resides

Entering any beach or any promenade along any part of the coastline

Entering or loitering around any leisure centre and or swimming pool

Loitering or entering any public park

Undertaking any work involving children under the age of 16

Speaking about the quick-thinking actions of the teen, Detective Constable Charlotte White who led the investigation said: “It was Fox’s goal for a child to find the phone and his actions meant that a 15-year-old boy was subjected to viewing the horrific and revolting contents within it.

“But without the teen recognising the seriousness of what he had found, and having the courage to report it to us, we would not have known that Fox was brazenly breaching his conditions.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him as his quick-thinking actions meant we were able to launch a full investigation leading to Fox’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment.”

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