In a new TV show, police say that advanced AI software was key to showing that a pedophile groomed and sexually abused young girls.
Investigators said that at first, it was hard for them to find enough proof that Cassidy had power over and groomed girls.
But they found deleted texts and pictures on his phone, which led to his conviction in January.
This story has some information that some people might find upsetting.
The tweet below verifies the news:
AI software helped convict Coventry paedophile, police say https://t.co/1S2ZIrnalU
— BBC News Technology (@BBCTech) June 6, 2023
Cassidy was caught after a 12-year-old girl said he had talked to her on Snapchat and then raped her.
But he told police that he had sex with her, but he said she told him she was 16 years old. Also, his victim’s story about being groomed needed to be backed up for him to be charged.
First, the cops took Cassidy’s Nissan Juke because the victim told them she had been in it, said forensic coordinator Jo Ward.
But the proof only showed that Cassidy had sex in the car. There was no DNA from the victim that linked the car to the victim.
Dan Coley, a digital forensics expert, then looked at the phones of the suspect and the victim. He could only show that the two knew each other and had talked.
“Potentially, there is nothing there to back up what the victim said happened,” he said of the first step of the investigation, which he said ran the risk of being “the end of that investigation.”
But then there was a breakthrough, and they were able to figure out how Cassidy’s story fit together.
Detectives told them that a 13-year-old girl had told them that a guy had made sexual advances toward her online.
When it became clear that Cassidy was behind that material, investigators were finally able to build a case against him that included the first victim.
AI makes it possible for computers to do things that are hard for humans to do. In this case, special software was used to learn from the words Cassidy used in her texts to the second victim. This software was then used to search Cassidy’s phone for a similar language.
Mr. Coley said that inappropriate pictures of children and texts that showed he was trying to get close to children and was, in fact, a predator were found.
Then Cassidy was charged. In court, he admitted to one count of rape and one count of having Class B drugs with the plan to sell them. However, he denied an online grooming charge and five more counts of rape.
But in December, he was found guilty of all charges at Warwick Crown Court and sentenced to 19 years in prison and five more years on probation. He was also put on a list of sex criminals for an undetermined amount of time.
“This result matters to me,” said Mr. Coley. “Not just because I’m a parent, but also because I hope that in the end, we’re here to help protect children.”
Det Con Corinne Hatton of the West Midlands Police said that Cassidy had “taken innocence” from the most vulnerable people in society.
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By June, police said they had found 14 more victims, and they were working to find them and help them.
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