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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 16:06 UK

'Devious' rape of unknown child

David Bye
David Bye lured children to a caravan in mid Wales

A man who admitted raping a child has been jailed indefinitely, despite the fact his victim has never been found.

The judge said it was a "mystery" how the girl did not wake while David Bye, 43, raped her twice in a caravan in mid Wales. He earlier admitted the offence.

He was finally caught by police after thousands of indecent images of children were found on his computer.

He was "devious and manipulative" and had used his daughter to get close to children, Merthyr Crown Court heard.

Police believe Bye, originally from Greenford, west London, may have been abusing children for decades and have appealed for other victims to come forward.

He also lived in Scotland, Basingstoke in Hampshire and Canterbury, Kent, before settling in mid Wales. He studied to be accountant until March 2007 but did not qualify.

Bye was told he will remain in prison for at least five years but the judge stressed there was no guarantee he would be considered safe for parole.

David Bye repeatedly refused to identify the children in the images when interviewed by police

He has also been ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Detectives said Bye ingratiated himself with families, winning over the trust of parents, and children were lured to his caravan in mid Wales.

The court heard matters came to light when Bye, who worked in Reading three days a week, had to call in IT support for a problem with his laptop.

More than 17,000 indecent images of children, aged six to 12, were found on the computer, including the most serious category of child abuse.

Of these pictures, he had taken 202 of 10 different children himself. Some of the pictures showed Bye raping and sexually assaulting a young girl.

Under the guise of being a friendly and charming man with a sympathetic ear...and with the blithe assistance of his own daughter, he soon turned his attention away from the parent and to their children
Ieuan Morris, prosecuting

Ieuan Morris, prosecuting, said he was a "predatory paedophile and sexual pervert" who secretly engaged in two known acts of sex with a girl who was either asleep "or for some reason not conscious" in the caravan.

He said it was "unquestionably an unusual and most serious case, perhaps unique," in that the victim was unknown.

Mr Morris said with admissions to police and "stark declarations" to a child protection consultant, Bye told of harbouring a "deep-seated sexual craving" for young children up to the age of 12 years over more than a decade.

"Furthermore, the defendant has disturbingly expressed a view that he has nothing to lose by further exploiting young girls in this way because his fate is sealed," he said.

Bye was arrested by Thames Valley police in January 2008 but it was Dyfed-Powys Police who recovered a camera containing indecent pictures of children in his caravan and took over the investigation.

'Devious chameleon'

Mr Morris said: "The defendant deliberately targeted young, vulnerable single mothers and in one case, a father, with children of their own and befriended them in order that he could prey on the children."

He said Bye was "devious and manipulative" and used his own young daughter as a means of gaining access to other children.

There is no evidence his daughter herself was a victim.

Mr Morris said Bye was attracted to both young boys and girls and bought gifts for them.

The mother of one of Bye's victims describes how the 'professional paedophile' infiltrated her family and others

Mr Morris said: "Under the guise of being a friendly and charming man with a sympathetic ear to the difficulties encountered by single parents who had been engrossed in troubled relationships with former partners, and with the blithe assistance of his own daughter, he soon turned his attention away from the parent and to their children."

Mr Morris produced evidence from parents of three girls and three boys Bye befriended.

He took one victim swimming and bought her a bike. He bought another girl a plastic horse, and bought a boy a remote control car and model aeroplane.

Ian Ibrahim, defending, said Bye was "a man of some intelligence" who knew handing his laptop over to IT would lead to his being found out.

He said: "He could have walked out with the computer but he didn't. He wanted this to stop."

He had looked for voluntary help while on bail after he was first arrested.

'Mystery'

Sentencing Bye, Judge Eleri Rees said Bye had developed an "obsession" over a period of 12 years of viewing images of girls.

"That behaviour escalated to taking photographs yourself... then graduated to touching the children and actual rape and penetration."

How he managed to do this without the child waking "is a mystery and will remain so", she said.

The judge said that despite his admissions and pleas of guilt, he had not assisted police in identifying the children involved so they could receive help.

"You cannot assume that because the children were young they are blissfully unaware of what occurred," she said.

Talking about a letter Bye had sent to the court, she said it was clear he remained in denial as to the extent of his obsession.

'More victims'

"You have a long way to go in actually addressing your distorted thinking and attitude towards children and sexual matters," she said.

After the case, Det Insp Diane Davies of Dyfed-Powys Police described him as a "devious chameleon", who over many years had changed his appearance, his job and where he lived in order to pursue and abuse young children.

"There are almost certainly many more of David Bye's victims out there", said Det Insp Davies.

"We hope the fact he's now been put behind bars for a long time, may persuade those (unknown) victims and their families to come forward and get the help they need."



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