- By Allen Cook
- BBC News, West Midlands
Sophisticated AI software was essential in proving that pedophiles groomed and sexually abused young girls, police said in a new TV show.
The conviction of Luke Cassidy, 29, from Coventry, was documented by BBC Two’s Forensics: The Real CSI.
Investigators initially said they struggled to find enough evidence to prove that Cassidy was controlling and grooming the girls.
Through his cell phone, however, they found deleted messages and photos that led to his conviction in January.
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Cassidy was arrested after she reported that a 12-year-old girl groomed her on the social media platform Snapchat and then raped her.
However, he admitted to detectives that he had had sex with her, but claimed she told him he was 16. In addition, testimony about the victim’s grooming had to be corroborated for prosecution.
Cassidy’s Nissan Juke was seized by police, and forensic coordinator Joe Ward said the victim was in the car.
However, the evidence only proved that Cassidy had sex in the car, and there was no DNA linking the victim to the car.
Digital forensics officer Dan Corey then examined the defendant’s and victim’s mobile phones, but could only prove that they knew and talked to each other.
“There is nothing that could possibly corroborate the victim’s account of what happened,” he said of the early stages of the investigation, adding that there was a risk of “the investigation being closed.”
But then a breakthrough came along with the means of cracking down on Cassidy’s account.
Detectives said a 13-year-old girl had come forward saying she had been sexually solicited by a man online.
When it became clear that Cassidy was behind the content, investigators were finally able to file a case against him that could include the first victim.
Artificial intelligence (AI) enables computers to perform complex tasks. In this case, specialized software was trained on words used in messages from Cassidy to her second victim, then applied to search for similar languages anywhere on Cassidy’s phone. it was done.
Corey said that in addition to lewd images of the children, messages were found indicating that he was grooming them and that he was in fact a predator.
Cassidy was subsequently indicted. In court, he pleaded guilty to one rape charge and one class B drug possession charge, but denied online grooming charges and five more rape charges.
However, in December, he was found guilty of all charges by the Warwick Tribunal and sentenced to 19 years in prison, plus a further five years. He was also indefinitely registered on the sex offender registry.
“This result is important to me,” Corey said. “We are here not only as parents, but ultimately to protect our children.”
West Midlands Police Detective Colin Hutton said Cassidy had “earned acquittal” by targeting the most vulnerable people in society.
Police said 14 more victims had been found by June and officers were working to identify and assist the victims.
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