A man who travelled from Huddersfield to Clapham to sexually abuse children has been jailed.

James Ritchie made the 190-mile trip in July 2020, with the intention of committing the horrific crimes in Clapham.

He was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment on Friday, May 21.

Police reported how Ritchie approached a covert profile online believing they could help him gain access to young children.

During the conversations, Ritchie described in detail the abuse that he intended to commit, and his desire to gain access to children of an extremely young age.

He sent a number of intimate images of himself and requested that they were shown to the children before he met with them, and made claims of abusing other children in the past.

Ritchie, who has a degree in Engineering, planned to hide his offending from his partner and his family through extra security measures to his phone, including a ‘kill switch’ which would delete the entire contents of the phone if necessary.

After weeks of conversation, Ritchie agreed with the individual he was speaking to online to travel to Clapham to meet and abuse the children. 

On July 10 2020, Ritchie drove for over four hours from Huddersfield to Clapham with the intention to stay for the duration of the weekend. 

He was arrested by officers on scene, who took possession of his phone whilst it was unlocked. This prevented him from hitting the ‘kill switch’ he had previously described, securing evidence which proved essential at trial.

A search was conducted of his home address, where a number of electronic devices were recovered and forensically examined.

Following review of the devices officers had seized, it was identified that Ritchie had a number of images of child sexual abuse, including Category A images – the most explicit form of indecent images of children. 

He was charged with Arranging the Commission of a Child Sex Offence Contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Possession of Category A, B and C Indecent Images of Children, and Possession of Extreme Pornographic Images at Croydon Crown Court on July 11, 2020, and held on remand.

PC Gurpreet Singh, of the Met’s Online Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Command, said: “Ritchie is a dangerous individual who stated that he was not sure that he would be ‘able to control himself’ if he were to come into contact with children younger than six years old.

“The work of our team, which involved hours of online research and meticulous evidence gathering, helped us put together a robust casefile and submit multiple charges to the Crown Prosecution Service, which has ultimately landed Ritchie this lengthy custodial sentence.

"Ritchie will also be a Registered Sex Offender for the rest of his life.

"We hope that our dedication to this investigation will reassure the public that The Met work obstinately to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The Met has teams who are absolutely dedicated to investigating cases such as this, and can provide the help and support that you are entitled to.

"We also partner with charities who can help you through the reporting process and beyond.

"Please do contact us if there is anything that we can help with.”

If you feel that you have been a victim of crime such as this, you can contact the police to make a report.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.