A 22-year-old man, who pleaded guilty to the rape of a child, has been jailed for 12 years after an international investigation involving the FBI, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Police.
Joshua Hibbett, of Oakington Close, Arnold, Nottingham, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday, October 24.
Hibbett pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges. The charges included the rape of a child and taking, making, possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
Nottinghamshire Police officers were first made aware of Hibbett following an FBI investigation into a Russian file sharing website used to exchange indecent images of children.
The FBI obtained a federal search and seizure warrant in February 2018 to trace a particular user, who was encouraging other users to trade indecent images of children. He was subsequently found to reside in the United States.
Multiple emails associated with activity on the website were found. The username of ‘Joshua Hibbett’ was linked with two email addresses that had corresponded with the suspect from the United States.
The email address with that username was linked to a person who lived in the United Kingdom.
A collaborative investigation from Lincolnshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police found Hibbett to be living in Nottingham.
House raid and arrest
Nottinghamshire Police attended a property in Oakington Close in Nottingham on Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
Hibbett was interviewed and arrested on suspicion of the making and distribution of indecent images of children.
During the search of the property, a number of digital storage media devices were seized including a mobile phone and a laptop. Both were subsequently found to contain evidence relating to Hibbett’s offending.
Most of the images appeared to have been downloaded from the Russian file sharing website. The images had been placed into a folder called “Secret” found in Hibbett’s gaming folder.
He was also found to have created some of the images himself and shared them with the website.
Andrew Taylor, Detective Constable at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This has been a disturbing, shocking case and I am proud of the hard work of officers in the Paedophile Online Investigation Team based within Nottinghamshire Police as well as the FBI to bring Hibbett to justice.
“I’d also like to praise the young survivor for their bravery and courage in coming forward. Their strength throughout this case has been nothing short of incredible.”