Jay Stephen Perren, formerly known as Stephen Jardine, a self-confessed “evil monster” with a sexual interest in children, has left a series of victims traumatised by his devious and sustained offending.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Perren filmed many of his crimes and logged the offending footage and images into computer memory card folders compiled under the names of the victims and their home locations, as far away as South Wales.
In some cases, the victims were unaware of the offending until police called to reveal what had taken place to them, while it is thought they were sleeping or heavily intoxicated by the defendant.
Rapists and sexual abusers appeared at Teesside Crown Court
The 34-year-old former pub DJ, previously of Stockton, but living most recently on bail in Nottingham, admitted 25 offences.
They included five counts of rape, including on a child under 12-months-old, sexual assault of a child under 13, two counts of causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography, three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, three counts of making indecent images of a child, six counts of taking indecent images of a child and two counts of breaching a sexual harm prevention order.
These offences were committed over a number of years and documented in 33,000 images and videos which were stored in 140 folders on an SD card.
Paul Reid, prosecuting, said Perren has served three past prison sentences for sexual offences, one after inquiries into the latest convictions were already under way.
He read a succession of statements from Perren’s victims, with one choosing to address the court herself, and all spoke of the ongoing trauma and psychological damage caused by the defendant.
Several stated they could no longer trust men or were fearful in the presence of men.
Victoria Lamballe, in mitigation, said her client made relatively early admissions, sparing his victims from the prospect of having to appear at trial and give evidence at court.
She said much of the offending was committed when the defendant was in his early 20s and she added that he now has far more insight into the harm he has caused.
Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, described Perren’s offending as, “depraved and deplorable” and said many of his victim’s lives have been “profoundly affected” by his activities.
In passing an extended determinate sentence of 30 years, it means Perren must serve at least two-thirds, 20 years, behind bars before being eligible for release on licence by the Parole Board, but he may have to spend all three decades behind bars.
Upon his release and at the end of the 30 years he will still besubject to five years’ extended licence period.
He will be subject to lifetime restrictions under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and notification as a sex offender until he dies.
Indefinite restraining orders were also imposed, relating to all of his victims.
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Speaking after the case, the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Constable Dave Medd, of Cleveland Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: “Perren is a serial offender and a real danger to women and children.
“He committed unforgivable crimes against his victims and subjected them to horrendous ordeals.
“Perren was devious and manipulative, not only in hiding his crimes, but grooming vulnerable victims, recording his abuse of them and then storing these images on a memory card for his own depraved pleasure.
“This has been an extremely complex investigation.
“Myself, DC Nikki Meakin, DC Steve Rookes and Senior Digital Forensic Investigator Connor Spence have worked on this investigation for two-and-a-half-years alongside our supervisor, Detective Sergeant Ian Boyes.
“When Perren was arrested in November 2020, he initially handed over a, ‘clean phone’, but we noticed he was charging another phone under his pillow. “This phone contained an SD card, which in turn contained the history of his offending.
“This led us to discover that Perren was digitally documenting the crimes he had committed against his victims in folders which were stored under the victim’s name or the location of where they lived (towns and cities across the UK).
“This assisted us in the identification of the victims, and we could start building a case against him.
“One particularly disturbing image hid Perren’s face but we proved it was him based on the cuff of a distinctive jacket he was wearing.
“We found an exact replica of the jacket on eBay, the only one being sold in the UK at that time, and following this, we managed to match it to a photograph of him wearing it on a trip he took seven days after the offence.
“This was one of the many ways we proved that Perren was guilty of his crimes.
“However, it is the victims that have been central to the success of this investigation.
“They have co-operated at great emotional cost and carried themselves with courage and dignity throughout the whole process.
“Due to their age at the time, many of the victims didn’t realise they had been subjected to a crime until we visited them, and this has been incredibly distressing for them to come to terms with.
“On behalf of the team, we would like to thank all of our victims and witnesses in this case.
“Without their strength and determination, we would have been unable to achieve such a positive outcome.”
Det Con Medd said credit should also be given to Claire Brinton, from the Crown Prosecution Service, who went, “above and beyond” to help the investigation team during the charging process.
“She was always available on the phone to offer advice and to listen to our concerns over specific charges.
“Her professionalism and willing approach to the case really helped at the charging stage.
“Hopefully now Perren has been sentenced, the victims will finally be given some form of closure, and they can now attempt to move on with their lives.”
Ms Brinton, a Specialist Prosecutor with Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS’s) North East Rape and Serious Sexual Assault (RASSO) Unit, said: “The success of this case against Jay Stephen Perren is testament to the close working relationship between the CPS and Cleveland Police from the very beginning of this investigation.
“I would like to highlight the exemplary work of the police digital forensic team, who scoured through huge volumes of distressing material to identify Perren’s victims, and to directly link him to the hours of offending recorded within.
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“The effects of Perren’s actions on the victims in this case has been significant and I stand with police in recognising the bravery with which they have recounted the horrific crimes committed against them.
“Their clear and compelling evidence has been instrumental in building such a robust case against Perren, leaving him no choice but to plead guilty to his criminal activity.
“I sincerely hope that Perren’s victims can take some comfort from today, knowing that their evidence has played such a significant part in the lengthy imprisonment of a prolific and dangerous sexual predator.”