North East Wales

Sentence increase for man who 'directed' webcam abuse

Michael Charnley
Image caption Michael Charnley paid money online to take part in the abuse

A former Army sergeant jailed for five years for directing child sex abuse films thousands of miles away via webcam has had his sentence increased.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Michael Charnley, 55, of Denbigh, Denbighshire, must serve 12 years.

His original sentence was described as "unduly lenient".

He was originally sentenced in March after admitting a variety of offences, including four charges of inciting children to engage in sexual activity.

The sentencing hearing at Mold Crown Court had been told that he had paid about £20 a time online to tell adults what to do to their victims.

The children - all under 13 and one as young as two - were being abused abroad, possibly in the Philippines.

North Wales Police arrested him and found 10,000 images and 356 videos of child sex abuse.

Charnley had received a five-year sentence when a crown court judge ordered that his sentences run concurrently.

Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Moses said it did not matter that the children were on the other side of the world.

He said: "One only has to ask what public outcry there would be if the children had come from the UK and a sentence had been passed of no more than five years."

Lord Justice Moses was sitting with Mr Justice Holman and Mr Justice Christopher Clarke.

He added: "The level of sentencing, in our view, was wholly inadequate and did not begin to meet the gravity of these offences or reflect the fact that the victims were young, vulnerable children.

"It's plain that offenders like these, obsessed with the opportunity, so easily on payment, to obtain their own sexual gratification at the cost of the terrible abuse of these children, need to be deterred.

"These children, coming, as they do, from impoverished circumstances, need protection and need to be protected against the ever more sophisticated methods by which offenders obtain sexual gratification."

The sentence was increased after lawyers representing the attorney general argued that it was "unduly lenient".

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