Beware the paedophile hidden in your midst

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You do your shopping on it. Paedophiles do theirs.

Without doubt, the Internet has made the world a pick’n’mix sweet shop for those who want sex with children.

But while it’s made their search for victims easier, it can also lead to their capture. Prosecution after prosecution come about because paedophiles left footprints on the Internet. Though by the time they are caught, children have already suffered.

To prevent the abuse, we need psychiatrists and criminologists to fathom what drives them. And the rest of us need to realise that paedophiles are more cunning and manipulative than any normal person could ever imagine. They will stop at nothing and no one to get the only thing they want.

This week two Doncaster men were unearthed as prolific predatory offenders who groomed schoolboys throughout the North for sexual encounters. All without their wives suspecting. Those devastated women are victims too; they were groomed by their husbands.

It’s much harder to feel anything other than disgust for the mothers who offered up their children for abuse to their rock idol, Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins. True, there is the possibility they were perverted abusers before they became their hero’s ‘superfans’. But it’s more likely they twisted beyond all definition of motherhood by Watkins. Which means we do have to find sympathy for them - and use their story to be ever-more vigilant.

To access children, paedophiles morph into society’s most acceptable faces. One could be sitting next to you on the tram as you read this article, of be a workmate that you trust, and think you know. Dirty old man in the park, yes. But paedophiles can be rock gods and TV stars, priests and schoolteachers; your husband or a step-father to your kids. And they con people into believing that is all they are.