Swansea 2023-11-30

Ian Mitchell 61

Paedophile who repeatedly breaks court orders designed to control his behaviour.

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Offender ID: O-4966


High Street, Swansea, Wales, SA1


A paedophile who repeatedly breaks court orders designed to control his behaviour is back behind bars after secretly setting up a Facebook account. Ian Mitchell also took a picture of pre-pubescent girl in swimwear which he deleted from his phone – but not before police became aware of its presence thanks to remote monitoring of his device.

Swansea Crown Court heard Mitchell has a history of sexual offending stretching back almost 25 years which began with him sexually abusing a young girl and has gone on to see him being caught multiple times with indecent images and videos. He has even been caught reoffending in prison by collecting newspaper cuttings of pictures of young girls in nativity plays as well as collecting articles about notorious child murderers. Mitchell's barrister said her client acknowledges he has "urges" and wants help to deal with them.

Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said Mitchell was released from his last custodial sentence in August this year and registered with police and then on October 26 had "e-safe" monitoring software installed on his mobile which allows police to remotely monitor phone activity. The court heard that "within hours" of having the software activated at Swansea Central police station an "image of significant concern" appeared on the phone – namely a photograph of a pre-pubescent girl in a swimsuit. The following week police went to his flat in Swansea's High Street and examined the mobile. Officers saw the photo which they knew he had taken had since been deleted and they saw he had signed up to Facebook in breach of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

The defendant was arrested and in interview admitted taking the photograph of the girl saying he had found a sim card and when he plugged into his television the picture of the youngster had appeared on the screen. He said he took a picture of the image on the screen before "panicking" and wrapping the sim in tissue paper and flushing it down the toilet. He also said he didn't know he was not allowed to have a Facebook account.

Ian Spencer Mitchell, of High Street, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching a sexual harm prevention order by deleting a photograph and having a social media account when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. The court heard he has two different dates of birth recorded on the system and is aged either 59 or 61. Mitchell has 40 previous convictions for 123 offences.

The court heard the defendant's sexual offending began in 1999 when he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for gross indecency with a child. This offence had seen him sexually assaulting a girl and showing her a pornographic film while masturbating. He was placed on the sex offenders register but failed to tell police where he was living after his release from prison and was subsequently put on the wanted list. He was arrested in 2004 in a Jobcentre in possession of a bank card in a false name.

In 2005 Mitchell was given an extended sentence as a dangerous offender, comprising nine months in custody with an extended three-year licence, for making indecent photographs of a child and in 2011 was jailed again and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for making and possessing indecent images. The following year he was sentenced to three years in prison for once again making and possessing indecent images. Mitchell's offending continued upon his release from prison and in 2015 he was sentenced to 40 months in prison for engaging in online chats about sexual abuse and for distributing indecent images and videos including of Category A which covers the most serious kinds of child sexual abuse and rape.

While serving this sentence at HMP Channings Wood in Devon the defendant was found with a secret stash of newspaper cuttings of pictures of young girls in swimming costumes or in nativity plays – some of which he had stuck onto pictures of naked woman in a pornographic magazine. He also had a collection of newspaper clippings of stories about notorious child murder cases. All the items were found during a search of his cell. For this offending Mitchell was given a second extended sentence in 2017 comprising 12 months in prison followed by a three-year licence period.

The following year the defendant was given another extended sentence as a dangerous offender after police in Swansea found more than 4,000 indecent and prohibited pictures on his phone and in his iCloud storage account and found he had engaged in sexualised conversations on WhatsApp in which he pretended to be a girl aged 11 to 13. The passcode to his phone – "Little Girls ****" – reflected his interest in child sexual abuse . For making, possessing, and distributing indecent images and breaching a SHPO the defendant was sentenced to two years in prison with an extended three-year licence period. The court heard he breached the SHPO again in 2021 after buying an internet-enabled video games console. Mitchell initially lied to police claiming another resident of the hostel had given him the device but checks showed he had in fact purchased it from a Swansea city centre shop. The defendant was released from this final sentence on August 16 this year.

Nicola Powell, for Mitchell, said following his release from prison over the summer the defendant had elected to have "E-safe" software installed on his phone "because he wanted to be safe". She said while helping his partner to move house the defendant had come across a sim-type card which he put into his television to see what it contained and had then "foolishly" taken a photo of the picture on the screen. She said the image of the girl was not indecent but it was accepted that it was "an image of concern". The barrister said Mitchel had then deleted the photo from his phone "to try to prevent any further urges". Miss Powell said the defendant was "trying his best" to deal with the "urges" he has and wants help to do so.

Recorder Aidan Eardley KC said he had been told that the defendant acknowledges he has "serious problems" and has "urges he has difficulty resisting". He said there was no possibility of suspending the prison sentence that was due as Mitchell was "unable to abide by court orders" including breaching sexual harm prevention orders on no less than four previous occasions. With a one-third discount for his guilty pleas the defendant was sentenced to 10 months 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 sexual harm prevention order remains in place.

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