Hove man jailed as part of child sex abuse ring

Posted On 11 Sep 2015 at 6:28 pm

A 33-year-old man from Hove has been jailed along with six others for their part in a child sex abuse gang.

Matthew Lisk, 33, from Hove, was sentenced to four years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life at Bristol Crown Court today (Friday 11 September).

Lisk admitted being involved in the sexual abuse of a four or five-year-old boy. He engaged in a sex act with a married man while they watched over the internet as another member of the gang committed a sex act in front of the boy.

Matthew Lisk

Matthew Lisk

The gang were convicted of 30 child sexual abuse offences, including conspiracy to rape and the rape of a child under the age of 13. They were sentenced to 107 years in prison in total.

The National Crime Agency said: “The group used social media channels and legitimate internet conferencing facilities to share images and live-streamed video of children being raped and sexually abused.”

Judge Julian Lambert described the men as “evil beyond rational understanding”, telling them that “their activities provoked tears in many and made others physically sick”.

He said: “You men indulged yourself in some of the most depraved and grossly deviant behaviour imaginable.

“The depths to which you sank were astounding and highly shocking to all decent people.

“Your conduct is of deep concern to the public and people are outraged at what you have done.”

The men, including a married father of two and three registered sex offenders, were convicted in April after an investigation described by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as complex. The NCA led the investigation, working with Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Bedfordshire Police and Wiltshire Police.

In addition to Lisk, the six men to be jailed were

  • John Denham, formerly known as Benjamin Harrop, 49, from Wiltshire
  • Matthew Stansfield, 34, from Hampshire
  • Adam Toms, 33, from Somerset
  • Christopher Knight, 35, from Manchester
  • Robin Hollyson, 30, from Bedfordshire
  • David Harsley, 51, from Hull

The men shared indecent images and videos of children being abused, communicating via social networking forums, the NCA said.

It added: “The huge amount of online communication between all the offenders meant having access to communications data was crucial in evidencing how they conspired to abuse their victims.

“Evidence shows that the group’s victims were mainly babies and infants, with at least one victim given stupefying drugs to enable offenders to carry out sexual abuse.

“The group even offered advice and guidance to others regarding how much drug to administer to a child, depending on their age.

“The NCA’s continuing investigation has resulted in the arrest of 26 people so far, three of whom have been charged with child sexual abuse image offences.

“Nine children have been safeguarded.


“Of those arrested, six were in positions of trust – three teachers, two charity fundraiser workers and one was employed by a local authority.

“In addition, two people received cautions for extreme pornography offences.

“Over 200 intelligence packages have been shared with law enforcement partners around the world, meaning the investigation has now taken on an international dimension.

“As a result, more arrests and charges are expected.”

Graham Gardner, deputy director of investigations at the National Crime Agency said: “Today’s sentences highlight the depravity of these men – a depth of depravity that thankfully we rarely see.

“These offenders demonstrated a determined ruthlessness to identify vulnerable babies and infants who were unable to protect themselves. Their callousness beggars belief.

“This national investigation has now moved to an international one and the NCA will continue to work with our partners, at home and abroad, to ensure those who abuse children are brought to justice.”


The NCA said: “The investigation began in September last year when Adam Toms was arrested by Avon and Somerset police after admitting that he had sexually abused a child under the age of five.

“As a result of these admissions, the investigation expanded rapidly and identified other offenders in the organised crime group.

“Officers were also able to identify and safeguard three victims – a baby, a toddler and a pre-school age child.

“Most of the group’s planning and communication took place online but when access to children was guaranteed the group would arrange to meet up in person – often travelling long distances.

“If only one member would have access to a victim, the abuse would be live-streamed to the others.”

One of the victim’s families said: “We would like to thank Bedfordshire Police, the National Crime Agency and all the other law enforcement agencies involved for their support and handling of what has been a very traumatic and distressing experience for us.

“No family ever wants to find that their child has been the victim of abuse, nor would they ever knowingly put their child at risk.

“As a family we now need to mend. Seeing the perpetrators being brought to justice is the first step.”

  1. Tina Tidy Reply

    Only 4 years,disgusting.

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