Man who ran paedophilia ring on Grindr handed nine life sentences

Grindr (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The head of a paedophile ring who used Grindr and other apps to recruit members has been handed nine life sentences.

Michael Emerton was sentenced in Hertfordshire after he admitted to 20 counts of sexual crimes against children.

Michael Emerton
(Photo by Hertfordshire Constabulary)

The counts included rape of a child and three instances of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

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Luton Crown Court heard how Emerton used apps like Grindr, Skype and TruNude to meet with other men so that they could have sex together in front of children.

The 33-year-old was initially convicted earlier this year in March where he was given just seven life sentences.

He was given the additional two sentences this week (Wednesday 20) after he admitted to further offences including conspiring with others to commit sexual activity with a child.

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Matthew Webby, 30, Robert Lindsay, 39, Paul Stevens, 54 and Simon Wintle, 44 were all sentenced as well for crimes linked to the paedophile ring.

Stevens was sentenced to 10 years with a five year licence extension, Webby was sentenced to nine years with a five year licence extension, Lindsay was sentenced to five years three months with a three year licence extension, Wintle was sentenced to two years six months.

28-year-old Thomas Webby will also be sentenced on January 24.

Chief Inspector Dee Perkins said that Emerton “mercilessly exploited children for his own sexual gratification and for those other men who he met online.

“The nine life sentences he has received reflects the disturbing nature of his actions,” Perkins added.

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The imprisonment of the network of criminals comes after a year-long investigation after Emerton’s computers were seized in November 2016.

The information found on the computer revealed that Emerton was using Grindr, Skype and TruNude to communicate with the other men in the ring.

He would also use the streaming service to stream the abuse of children.

The computer led to over 100 other potential suspects being found, with one suspect in the US being arrested just 48 hours after the computer was initially seized.