A videographer and entrepreneur with deep links to the British tech scene has been jailed for seven years for a series of offences relating to children.
Chris Leydon, who is 28 years old, appeared at Worcester Crown Court on October 6 and was found guilty of rape of a child under 13, sexual assault of a child under 13, inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and four counts of making indecent photographs of a child.
Leydon had pleaded not guilty to the historical offences. We first saw the news of Leydon’s sentencing via Worcester News.
He was ordered to pay £140 into a victim surcharge fund, which funds services for victims. He is also restricted from contact with children, and from using internet-connected devices. The court also made a forfeiture and destruction order on Leydon’s computer and hard drive.
Leydon was well-known in UK tech circles, filming high-profile events prior to his conviction such as [email protected], London Web Summit, and Startup Grind. His work also appeared on TechCrunch.
He was originally arrested in March 2013 in Worcester for the seven charges. The images found on his MacBook Pro were rated between one and five on the COPINE scale, a child sex abuse ratings system with a maximum rating of 10.
Business Insider is unable to give further detail as there are strict restrictions on reporting child sexual abuse cases in the UK.
Detective Inspector Mark Walters, of West Mercia Police, said: “The decision of the court and the sentence given reflects the gravity of the offences committed. I would like to thank the victims of the offences for their bravery in coming forward which has enabled the offender to be brought to justice.
“I hope this case gives a clear warning to offenders that West Mercia Police will fully investigate all allegations of sexual abuse irrespective of when they took place and are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.”
Anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence is encouraged to report the incident to police.
Business Insider was unable to contact Leydon’s lawyer for comment.
London startup: ‘We regret our failure to properly vet him’
Leydon has been a regular face on the UK tech scene since around 2012, some years after setting up his video production company Keyone, and a web conference targeted at young entrepreneurs called “Tomorrow’s Web Meetup.” He was employed in 2011 as a freelance video producer for TechCrunch, according to his LinkedIn account, and was involved with The Europas tech awards. He also had partnerships with The Financial Times and the BBC, according to his profile. To be clear, there is no evidence any of these organisations could have known about Leydon’s criminal activities in the years after 2011.
However, Breitbart reported in April 2015 that Leydon had been found guilty on the four counts of creating indecent images of children. At that time, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the three more serious charges.
He continued to be employed by tech firms and conferences after this time on a contract basis, though his website shows fewer videos after 2015. According to his website, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles, Leydon was contracted to work for around 30 organisations between 2011 and 2017, mostly filming events.
London startup bank Monzo hired Leydon on a one-off basis to film an event in August last year. A spokeswoman said: “We hired Chris Leydon for a one-off freelance job one evening in August 2016. At the time we weren’t aware of his criminal record and we regret our failure to properly vet him. His actions are appalling.
“We have always had rigorous measures in place to properly vet anyone permanently employed by Monzo, and will put appropriate measures in place for anyone we employ on a freelance or temporary basis going forward.”
According to tweets from Leydon’s Twitter account, he filmed an internal hack event at Microsoft last July. The company has told Business Insider it is investigating further but has not given further comment.