Man jailed for landmark child-like sex doll offence has prison term reduced

A man jailed for importing an `anatomically correct` child-like doll – seen as a “flashing beacon” of sexual interest in minors – has had his sentence cut.

Oct 30, 2017

A man jailed for importing an `anatomically correct` child-like doll – seen as a “flashing beacon” of sexual interest in minors – has had his sentence cut. Andrew Dobson, 49, was handed a 32-month prison term in June at Chester Crown Court in a landmark `first of its kind` case in the UK. Dobson, of Wistaston, Crewe, was given a two-year sentence for the offence plus eight months for making indecent images of children. Reducing Dobson’s sentence to 18 months, the judges at the Court of Appeal said that the most serious offence was the possession of the “truly dreadful” images. That merited a sentence of 12 months with six months for importing the sex doll. At the previous court hearing, Dobson admitted to buying the doll to use for his own sexual gratification, and to downloading child abuse images and movies online. In August, Police Professional highlighted that new developments in technology are presenting yet more challenges to policing. Some of the most significant technology-driven problems for the service in the near future is coming with the emergence of sex robots. And following the conviction, Detective Constable Andy Kent of Cheshire Constabulary’s Paedophile and Cyber Investigation Team called for greater understanding of the links between buying a child-like sex doll and further sexual offending. He said some officers who seize obscene dolls are failing to check offenders’ computers or close cases without speaking to them. Det Con Kent told Police Professional that forces and even their solicitors do not fully understand what offence has been committed when a child-like doll is imported and found in a person’s possession. “Since securing my conviction I’ve spoken with eight or nine forces – even force solicitors – who have asked ‘where is the sexual offence and how do we respond to this?’,” he said. “The knowledge needs to be given that it is not a sexual offence, you can have a doll, you can sleep with a doll. It’s an inanimate object. “The main difference is that this is indicative material of someone who has got that interest in children. It’s the secondary offences we find on the doll highlighting who they are, it’s a flashing beacon.” The NCA said the importation of child sex dolls is a relatively new phenomenon but “time and again importers are also guilty of associated offending against children”. An NCA spokesperson added: “They are a real flag of a sexual interest in children. “We are working hard with our partners in Border Force to stop them entering the country and then investigating and prosecuting the importers.”

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