THE two paedophiles who lured vulnerable teenage boys for sex after targeting them online “span an intricate web” around their identities and their crimes, according to the detective who led the case against them.
Anthony Marsh and Lee Davis face the prospect of life terms when they are sentenced in December after admitting a string of offences against boys aged 13 to 17, going back as far as 2005.
The two married fathers, both from the Doncaster area, had sex with vulnerable young boys from around the country and traded several between themselves after using social networks to groom their victims.
Detective Inspector Delphine Waring, who led South Yorkshire Police’s Operation Klan to bring the two men to justice, said Marsh and Davis “searched various websites, trawling for impressionable, young, vulnerable boys”.
She said: “I very much hope this case serves as a warning to anyone who believes they can abuse young children for their own sexual gratification.
“Throughout this investigation, we have liaised with many other organisations to provide support for the victims in this case and to unravel the intricate web Marsh and Davis span around their identities and their crimes.
“The young boys who were the victims of their crimes will continue to receive the support of specialist agencies in order that they can come to terms with what happened to them and to build successful and happy lives.”
The investigation was launched after North Yorkshire Police received a call in May reporting that a man named Tony was in a hotel room in Scarborough and may have been in possession of indecent images.
Marsh, 53, from Hatfield, South Yorkshire, who also used the names Tony Taylor and Tony Smith, was arrested and a number of electronic items in his possession were examined by detectives.
Days later, after South Yorkshire Police took over the case, Davis, 39, from Conisbrough, who went under the name James Parkin, was also detained.
At Davis’s home address, 300 DVDs were found which appeared to contain images recorded on a camcorder of him engaging in sexual activity with children.
Davis was charged with five counts of sexual activity with boys aged 13 to 15, appeared before magistrates in Rotherham and was remanded into custody.
In July both men were taken from prison for further interviews and went on to make further admissions about their crimes, leading to some of the charges they later admitted in court.
Davis, who is unemployed, took some of the victims to the family home while his wife was at work.
Det Insp Waring said: “While undoubtedly it is the young boys who are the victims here, their families are also victims, in other ways. They’ve been hugely betrayed and they’ve got to pick their lives up. I feel for them.
“Marsh and Davis would pick victims up and take them somewhere discreet, such as woodland. Occasionally they’d use hotels. Davis recorded a lot of the sexual activity, which we’ve had to view in order to identify people.
“A lot of the young boys, they didn’t perceive themselves to be victims at the time. They consented to meeting, to the sexual activity, but some of them have been particularly disturbed to find out they’ve been filmed.”
It is thought that Marsh and Davis met online, as they met their victims online, but police believe they went on to trade their victims between each other using illicit mobile phones and computers.