A man has avoided prison after being convicted of 15 child sex offences including making a young girl touch her brother sexually and using a hidden camera to watch a boy getting changed.

Bromley man Daniel Bates admitted all the charges which also included making 10-year-old boys watch child porn, photographing a sleeping boy's penis and sending a child a photo of his penis. 

A judge described him as a “very disturbed young man” with an “uncontrolled sexual proclivity” for children. 

But despite all this, 25-year-old Bates left the Old Bailey through the front door rather than being loaded onto a prison van. 

A judge said our overcrowded prisons cannot provide the necessary sex offender rehabilitation programmes to prevent Bates from offending again, so he is better served getting help in the community. 

News Shopper: Daniel Bates' catalogue of horrific crimes earned him a suspended sentence and he left court a free manDaniel Bates' catalogue of horrific crimes earned him a suspended sentence and he left court a free man (Image: Newsquest)

‘Making a sister touch her brother’ 

Bates, of Manor Way in Bromley, appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday (March 14) having pleaded guilty to a 15-count indictment last October. 

He first came to police attention in March 2022 when police raided his home after they were tipped off that someone at the address had uploaded indecent images of a child. 

His laptop and hard drive were seized after he told police it was him they were looking for, prosecutor Martin Ingle said. 

Officers found over 500 indecent images and videos on his devices including footage of babies being raped. 

They also found videos of Bates using an app called Omegle which puts users in video calls with random people. 

In one of these videos he was in conversation with two boys who were 10-years-old. 

After asking them if they “want to see girls” he showed them an image of a four-year-old being raped. 

In another video he spoke to a young brother and sister. 

During the video call he told the sister to take off her clothes and touch her brother sexually. 

'Photos of a sleeping boy’ 

Particularly worrying to police were images which they believed might have been taken by Bates himself.  

Further investigation revealed that these dated back more than half a decade and had been taken with a hidden camera.  

Bates had placed the camera in a child’s room to video him getting changed, the court heard. 

Officers also found a photo of the boy’s penis which had been taken by Bates while the boy was asleep.  

Mr Ingle said police believe the boy was between eight and 10-years-old at the time, while Bates was in his late teens. 

After Bates was arrested in March 2022 he was released on police bail while investigators analysed his devices.

Bates offends again 

Just 18 months later, while Bates was still released under investigation, he offended again. 

Police got a tip off that he had uploaded an indecent image of a child to Snapchat. 

When officers turned up at his house for a second time he was asked if he knew why police were there. 

He replied “I think so” and told officers he had “been in a bad place”. 

They analysed his phone and found a conversation he had been having with a 14-year-old child the day before his second arrest. 

He had sent the child a photo of his penis and asked for a naked photo of the child. 

The child told him: “I’m at school.” 

'Catalogue of perverted sexual offending’ 

Bates was subsequently charged and pleaded guilty to:  

  • 6 offences of making indecent images  
  • 3 offences of causing a child to watch sexual activity  
  • 2 offences of engaging in sexual communication with a child  
  • 2 offences of distributing indecent images  
  • One offence of voyeurism  
  • One offence of taking an indecent photograph of a child 

At the Old Bailey, Bates asked his barrister to apologise on his behalf. 

He said he had been suffering mental health issues which had been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

In a letter, Bates told the judge: “I hate myself for what I have done. I would never wish to offend again and would do anything to prevent myself from doing so.” 

Judge John Hillen said: “You are 25-years-old. Apart from this catalogue of perverted sexual offending, you have no convictions. 

“You are not dangerous. You are not violent. You would, to the outside world, appear to be respectable and unremarkable. 

“What that outward appearance hides is a very disturbed young man whose own mildly traumatic history and uncontrolled sexual proclivity has led to you standing in the dock at the Old Bailey facing a possible substantial prison sentence.” 

He described Bates as having an addiction to child pornography, as evidenced by the fact that he continued to offend even after his first arrest. 

But he said that while Bates “richly deserves” to be sent to prison, sex offender rehabilitation programmes would not be available to him there. 

“In my opinion, such a programme is necessary if society and children are protected from you,” Judge Hillen said. 

He gave Bates a two-year sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to complete a rehabilitation programme. 

A 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) was made, restricting his internet use and interactions with children in person and online. 

He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for a decade. 

As Bates left court, Judge Hillen warned him: “If you put one foot out of place, certainly if you come before me, you will be going through that green door to your right, into a cell and then onto a prison van.”