Rotherham man jailed for online child sex crimes

Karl Astbury, jailed for child sexual offences A 41-year-old Rotherham man is starting a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence after admitting contacting young girls online and sending them sexually explicit messages.

Karl Astbury, of Central Drive, Thurcroft, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday 2 December to be sentenced after pleading guilty to eight child sexual offence charges at an earlier hearing.

He entered guilty pleas to seven counts of inciting a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity and one count of possessing indecent images of children.

In Kent in March 2015, a concerned father found sexually explicit messages from Astbury on his daughter’s computer and alerted police.

An investigation was launched that traced Astbury to his Rotherham home, which was searched and a number of electronic devices seized.

He was arrested and remanded while enquiries continued.

Detective Constable Emma Shipley, the investigating officer, said: “Astbury’s offending spanned the country and our inquiry revealed a number of other victims who had been contacted and sent inappropriate sexual material.

“One victim was as young as ten-years-old. Astbury persisted in sending her and others explicit content, despite knowing the age of the girls he was speaking to.

“The young girls should be praised for their courage in talking to police about what happened to them and I hope that they are reassured by the police action taken to bring him before the courts.”

To report concerns for a child, or if you wish to report sexual exploitation, you can call or text the national helpline Say Something on 116 000 for support and advice.

There is a dedicated 24-hour confidential helpline for victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham, run by the national charity NSPCC. They can be contacted on 0800 7319256 or emailed via rotherhamcsesupport@nspcc.org.uk