Those further tests revealed that he had been in contact for some months with the American, Kenneth Stokes, according to police.
It had started with a second jail sentence for possessing indecent images of children. That was what the police were looking for when they came knocking with a search warrant, after receiving a tip that he had been online talking to people who may have shared his obsession for children. Police knocked on his door again in April the following year to once more pick their way through the sodden papers and rubbish. It was, according to detectives, a "goldmine" of information.
This is how we first realised that it was a much bigger investigation than indecent images of children."The force started to work with internet service providers to try to identify other people that Ford was in contact with, as he shared the images with paedophiles in the UK and abroad. The websites were thinly-disguised centres for paedophiles but were heavily moderated to avoid the attentions of the law.
Police retrieved his conversations with Porkchop91, aka Thomas Owen, a 34-year-old fellow paedophile from the Wirral. Through coded conversations and hints, users made their contacts and then went into private conversations.
CEOP senior investigator Kelvin Lay had previously been involved in a three-year investigation to infiltrate one such website – – which had some 70,000 members and was taken down after police tracked down the owner of the site to Holland.
Now following the Ford leads, he engaged in the painstaking work to trace the victims in the Philippines and the men that had abused them – both online and in person.