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Man who ‘poses a real risk to children’ has been jailed

A 55-year-old man who paid thousands of dollars to watch children being exploited on the internet has been jailed for 16 years.

Sidney Morris, of Brompton Road in Weston-super-Mare, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Monday 29 April) after pleading guilty to 15 counts, including:

  • One count of attempting to cause / incite a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity
  • One count of attempting to cause / incite a girl aged 13-15 to engage in sexual activity
  • Seven counts of attempting to arrange / facilitate commission of child sex offence
  • Three counts of making indecent photos of a child
  • Three attempts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The investigation was led by Avon and Somerset Police’s Internet Child Abuse Team (ICAT) in partnership with North East and the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCU).

In June 2022, officers from West Midlands ROCU discovered Morris had been messaging someone he believed to be a young child from the UK, engaging in inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature.

Morris was arrested from his home address in Weston-super-Mare in July of the same year and his devices were seized.

A detailed examination of the devices found Morris had 574 indecent images of children, comprising of 84 category A images (the most serious), 170 category B and 320 category C.

They all appeared to show children from an Asian country as young as four being sexually exploited.

During the investigation, officers discovered that Morris had paid more than $14,000 to people abroad to exploit the children in the photos. It is believed he was also using other payment channels so the true value he spent is likely far greater.

As the investigation continued, North East ROCU discovered Morris was actively trying to facilitate the abuse and exploitation of children online. He was arrested on 1 November 2023 and was subsequently charged with the 15 offences.

Investigating officer, DC Benn Murphy, said: “Morris poses a very real and significant risk to children.

“He has tried to hide his actions behind the anonymity of the internet and by targeting vulnerable people both in the UK and abroad.

“This should serve as a warning to those who look to exploit or abuse children; there are no safe places to hide.

“The true scale of harm he has caused, is unlikely to ever truly be known but we continue to make every effort to identify and safeguard individuals affected by this investigation.”