A MAN with a “deviant sexual interest” plagued beauticians and charities with thousands of calls and text messages asking for pictures of young girls.
Yesterday, Martin Crowe, of Dashwood Road, Oxford, was jailed for more than three years as Oxford Crown Court heard of the “devastating” effect it had on his victims.
The 51-year-old has been jailed twice before for the same offence of being a public nuisance and was made subject to an anti-social behaviour order, banning him from making such calls, back in 2009.
But the court heard Crowe, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, began a further barrage of calls and texts from last August to December.
Prosecutor Naomi Perry said it was on an almost daily basis and that the calls and texts amounted to more than 5,000 over the period.
She said he was caught after he called domestic violence charity Your Sanctuary in Warwick on New Year’s Eve and pretended to be holding a woman prisoner with tape over her mouth. They traced his pay-as-you-go mobile number and discovered where it was being topped up.
Miss Perry said he also sent a text to one woman asking for pictures of young girls aged seven to 11 in dresses and make-up, adding that he liked it when they were “bound and gagged with tape”.
More than 100 individuals and organisations were contacted, including various Rape Crisis centres across the UK, national charity The Samaritans and dozens of beauticians.
Judge Ian Pringle told Crowe he had a “deviant sexual interest” in pictures of young girls and his repeated communications had caused “extreme distress” to people who received them.
Peter Watt, NSPCC national service director, said: “All the charities in this case do vital work to support children and adults in deep distress.
“The volume of calls Crowe made will have prevented hundreds from accessing help, leaving them vulnerable and at risk.”
Claire Fraser, defending, said Crowe’s offending had not escalated over the years – he just kept going back to the same pattern.
She said: “He hasn’t in any way tried to excuse his behaviour. He is remorseful and ashamed that when he finds himself in periods of isolation he turns to behaving in this way.
“He realises the impact this has on others and especially the women who are answering his calls and receiving his text messages.”
Judge Pringle said Crowe had made a “truly staggering” number of calls. He told him: “The effect of these phone calls on hundreds of people was in some cases devastating.
“You caused extreme distress to some of these people and when you called up charities you are wasting time that could be used helping people in trouble.”
He sentenced him to 38 months in prison and told him to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Mike West said: “He now has time in prison to reflect on his actions and the effect they had.”