Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Research Volunteers Were Actually a Predator's Targets.
(U.K.) A 'calculating sexual predator' posed as a gynaecological researcher to lure young women to his flat and sexually assault them.
Student Liam Ryan, 21, posted an ad on the Gumtree website calling for female volunteers to take part in 'global medical research', in exchange for £500. More than 200 women, mainly cash-strapped students, responded to Ryan's online advert, but only three - including a 19-year-old - agreed to be examined. The women were promised £500 for undergoing an invasive internal examination at Ryan's flat in a tower block in Birmingham. But when the former business management student failed to hand over the cash, the police were informed.
Ryan pleaded guilty to two charges of assault by penetration and three charges of engaging in sexual activity without consent at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday. He was jailed for four and a half years, ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life and was made the subject of a ten-year sex offender prevention order.
Detective Constable Susan Mabbett of West Midlands Police said after the sentencing: 'Liam Ryan is a calculating sexual predator who deliberately targeted vulnerable women via the internet. If it had not been for the courage of these women who contacted us, I have no doubt that he would have continued to offend. I commend their strength of character which has resulted in this man being jailed. When released he will be closely monitored. Of course, all of this comes too late for them. They will forever be haunted by their attacker’s depraved acts.'
The court was told that Ryan, who ran his scam from his flat in Highgate, Birmingham, claimed to be carrying out international medical research for a Canadian university.
One 19-year-old victim was subjected to a degrading 40-minute attack that Ryan claimed was important scientific research, the court heard. She returned home to Manchester but only realised she had been sexually assaulted when she received no cash after the so-called examination. She reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police who contacted West Midlands Police.
Ryan was arrested last December on suspicion of sexual assault.
Officers swooped on Ryan’s home where they discovered thousands of pages of mobile phone records and emails from 200 women. All the women were contacted by police but only a handful came forward to say that they had realised the project was a scam and had not pursued Ryan’s offer. Others could not be traced. They discovered Ryan had targeted a 24-year-old PhD student from Birmingham who became suspicious and refused to take part in the examination.
When officers quizzed Ryan he initially claimed the project was legitimate but later admitted he had invented the story in order to abuse women.