A man from Manchester who arranged to rape a 12-week-old baby has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.
Mark Whalley, 71, was arrested by National Crime Agency officers in the foyer of the hotel in Manchester city centre, where he planned to carry out the abuse.
After receiving intelligence from Norwegian law enforcement partners, NCA investigators found that Whalley had discussed his sexual interest in children under 12 years of age on the online Wickr platform.
He had shared indecent images of children with other users on the site, and described the extreme abuse he wanted to engage in.
NCA investigators found that Whalley had used Wickr to message an individual who said they had access to a baby, and discussed how he would like to carry out the abuse when they met.
Whalley was arrested by NCA officers on suspicion of child abuse offences before he could get in the lift at the hotel. At this point, he told officers they were mistaken and attempted to pass the meeting off as an affair.
After initially pleading guilty to making and distributing indecent images of children, he later pleaded guilty to an additional count of arranging a child sex offence.
Whalley had arranged to abuse the child while subject to a separate investigation in which indecent images of children had been recovered from his devices in 2021. He was sentenced for all of the offences at Manchester Crown Court on 23 October 2023.
Daniel Waywell, NCA Operations Manager, said:
“Mark Whalley is a dangerous offender who had clear intentions to rape a young child.
“As a result of close collaboration with colleagues here in the UK and overseas, we were able to intervene and arrest him, and he will now spend years behind bars for his crimes.
“The NCA works tirelessly to ensure that children are protected from sexual abuse, identifying the offenders who pose the highest risk and ensuring that they are held accountable.”
24 October 2023