A convicted sex offender created social media accounts in fake names in defiance of a court order designed to monitor his online behaviour. Callum Roberts signed up for Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok accounts using names that were not his own, and also deleted Facebook messages before police could read them.
It is the second time Roberts had breached his sexual harm prevention order in a little over a year – the first saw him communicating with a 13-year-old girl and also deleting hundreds of WhatsApp messages and data relating to his internet search history. Sending Roberts back to prison a judge said he seemed “oblivious” to the seriousness of his actions, and he told him the court order to control his behaviour was in place “whether you like it or not”.
Tom Scapens, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that in 2018 Roberts was sentenced to four years and two months detention in a young offenders institution and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) after being convicted of multiple counts of sexual activity with a child, causing a child to watch sexual activity, making indecent photographs, and perverting the course of justice. As part of the SHPO regime offender manager officers visited the defendant’s house in Haverfordwest in July this year to carry out a risk assessment, and when asked for his phone he said he had got rid of it a couple of weeks earlier. The prosecutor said this claim by Roberts was, in reality, just the defendant refusing to hand over his mobile.
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The court heard officers told 24-year-old Roberts they could check what devices he had connected to his internet router, and at that stage to told them his phone was on top of the wardrobe. The iPhone 14 Pro Max was seized by officers and examined, and they found he had Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok accounts in names other than his own, including one in the name Callum Howell.
Callum Roberts, formerly of St Clears in Carmarthenshire but now of Priory Avenue, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching a SHPO when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has a previous conviction for breaching his SHPO from 2022 when officers found he had been in phone contact with a 13-year-old girl, had deleted 310 WhatsApp messages involving the child, and had deleted data relating to 557 internet searches. The court heard 300 of those searches had been made in just five days, and that all but 18 of them related to adult pornography. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison for these breaches, and was out of prison on licence at the time he committed the new breach.
Ian Ibrahim, for Roberts, said the defendant had “panicked” when police arrived at his door, and that is why he initially told them he did not have a phone. He said his client had made no illegal internet searches, and said like many people his age the defendant used social media but had been receiving “a degree of unwanted attention” from people living in the community – the barrister described the area where Roberts lived as “an area where everybody knows everybody”.
Judge Paul Hobson said the defendant had lied to the police about his phone, and he said it seemed from the pre-sentence report that Roberts was “oblivious” to the seriousness of his actions. He told the defendant that at the age of 24 he had already spent a large part of his recent life in prison and he needed to make a decision about whether that was also the future he wanted for himself. The judge said: “This order is in place whether you like it or not. It is there because you are a sex offender and your behaviour needs to be controlled and curbed. If you continue to breach the order, you will continue to go back to prison.”
With a one-third discount for his guilty pleas Roberts was sentenced to two years in prison. He will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. The SHPO remains in force.
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