Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Andrew Whiddett jailed for Philippines child abuse

Andrew Whiddett Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Andrew Whiddett made 49 payments totalling £8,584 to set up and watch the abuse

A former Army officer who arranged for children to be sexually abused in the Philippines while he watched online has been jailed.

Andrew Whiddett, a retired lieutenant colonel appointed MBE for his service in Northern Ireland, paid thousands of pounds to set up and view the abuse.

He admitted six child sex charges last month.

The 70-year-old, from Portsmouth, was jailed at Croydon Crown Court for three years and two months.

He directed the live-streamed abuse over Skype with "known Filipino child sex abuse facilitators", the court heard.

He made 49 payments totalling £8,584 between January 2015 and July 2017, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

The abuse happened after his army service and after he left employment as head of security at the British embassy in Baghdad.

'Soul-destroying abuse'

He admitted attempting to cause or incite a nine-year-old girl and another aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

He also pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence in September 2016.

The NCA said he told a contact he wanted to sexually abuse a child when he visited the Philippines the following month.

Whiddett also admitted three further charges of making indecent photographs of a child.

Siobhan Grey QC, mitigating, said: "[Whiddett] lost his wife of 40 years in September 2014 to an aggressive form of cancer. He was lonely when he started online dating and got sucked in."

At sentencing, Judge Nicolas Ainley imposed the prison term and put the defendant on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

He said: "I am well aware of the service dedicated to this country but children, wherever they are in the world, need to be protected from this type of activity."

Speaking after a previous court hearing, NCA officer Gary Fennelly said: "Andrew Whiddett was directly responsible for the soul-destroying abuse of children thousands of miles away from him.

"He thought he could get away with abusing Filipino children from the comfort of his own home."

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