A former coach driver who made more than 600 payments to direct and live stream the sexual abuse of children has been sentenced to eight years.
Bernard Grace, 72, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, was investigated by National Crime Agency officers after intelligence suggested he had made a number of electronic money transfers to a woman in the Philippines.
NCA investigators established that Grace, who used to transport children as part of his job, was paying people in the Philippines in exchange for live streaming of sexual abuse.
Searches of Grace’s home when he was arrested in March 2021 resulted in the seizure of a laptop. Enquires into GRACE’s financial activity showed he had made payments totalling over £20,000 to various women between January 2015 and March 2021.
The laptop was forensically examined and 23 Skype chats between Grace and Filipino women were found where he offered to make, or had made, payments.
These included a payment to a woman under investigation in the Philippines for sex trafficking offences.
When interviewed, Grace admitted making the payments..
Grace was charged with 11 counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and two counts of making an indecent image of a child.
He pleaded guilty during a previous hearing at Manchester Crown Court and was sentenced at the same court on Friday (12 May).
NCA Operations Manager Graham Clare said: “Bernard Grace was an unrelenting offender, whose actions led to several children being abused in the most horrific and depraved manner for his own sexual gratification.
“He may have thought he’d avoid detection by arranging for abuse to take place against vulnerable children on the other side of the globe, but the NCA has the capabilities to investigate online and internationally.
“We work with overseas partners to tackle the abhorrent abuse of children, and actively target offenders who pay for it to be live streamed. There is no bigger priority for us than protecting children, wherever they may be.”
15 May 2023