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SICKENING ABUSE: Hemel Hempstead paedophile sentenced for rape and sexual offences against children

 Published on: 8th November 2019   |   By: Dean Shaw   |   Category: Uncategorized

A man has today (Friday, November 8) been given a 24-year sentence after being found guilty of a number of sexual offences against children.

Andrew Murray, 43, of Boxted Road, Hemel Hempstead, was previously found guilty by jury on September 27 of:

  • Four counts of rape of a child under 13 
  • Two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13
  • One count of causing a child to watch a sexual act 
  • One count of attempting to commit a sexual assault by penetration on a child under 13
  • One count of assault of a child under 13 by penetration
  • One count of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity 
  • One count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child 
  • One count of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child. 

St Albans Crown Court heard how between February 2017 and March 2019, Murray committed multiple rapes and sexual offences against two victims and between December 2018 and March 2019, he engaged in sexual communication via online chat with a girl he believed was aged 13.

He was first arrested in March 2019 on suspicion of sexual communications with a child after an online child grooming activist group made direct contact with police without confronting Murray.

They told officers that they had posed as a 13-year-old girl and engaged in online chat with Murray, who had proceeded to send the decoy sexual messages and indecent images.

Murray was arrested and on further investigation, rape and sexual offences relating to the two victims under 13 were discovered.

He was further arrested and remanded before pleading not guilty ahead of the trial.

Today, November 8, he appeared before St Albans Crown Court where he was given a 20 year custodial sentence with four years to be served on extended license.

Judge Nigel Lithman QC described Murray’s actions as a ‘campaign of relentless and heartless abuse against two children’.

He will serve at least two thirds of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

His name will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and he is subject to the conditions of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) meaning he will be monitored very closely.

Detective constable Greg Smale, from the child online safeguarding team, said: “Murray has, throughout the investigation and trial, refused to accept any responsibility for these appalling crimes. He had no qualms about sending sexual messages and images to what he believed was a very young girl. The direct, confidential approach made to us by the activist group has resulted in far more serious crimes being disclosed.

“The fact that Murray raped both victims and coerced them into engaging in appalling sexual acts in order to satisfy his sickening urges, as well as forcing them to go through the additional trauma of giving evidence, reveals his true character.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victims’ bravery throughout what has been an extremely distressing investigation for all involved. There is no doubt that Murray’s actions will have had a far-reaching impact on them and we have ensured they are receiving the support they need to help them move forward with their lives.

“Thanks to their evidence, a depraved offender is now behind bars where he cannot hurt anyone else.”

Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact Herts SARC for practical and emotional support.

The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.

To contact Herts SARC, call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448, email Herts.SARC@nhs.net or visit www.hertssarc.org

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