A man who made plans to travel across the country in order to rape two children has been jailed.

Martin Allaway, aged 47, of Nobes Avenue in Gosport, also downloaded more than 2,000 child abuse images, 166 of which were Category A – the most serious.

Allaway appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 27 September 2023 where he admitted three counts of making indecent images of children, and one count of attempting to arrange/facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard on Friday 19 January this year that between January and May 2021, Allaway had been speaking to a woman online and detailed how he intended to travel to Sheffield in order to rape two children.

Allaway researched train times and ticket costs, and planned the date and time in which he would travel. He did not proceed with his plans, however, and subsequently withdrew from further communication with the woman.

The person Allaway had been speaking with was in fact a covert investigator from the Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Organised Crime Unit (YHROCU), and the ‘children’ that were discussed during their conversations did not in fact exist.

Following further investigation by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary, Allaway was charged in August last year, and at the sentencing hearing he was jailed for 32 months. He was also ordered to sign on to the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

DC Andrew Sims, who led the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary investigation, said: “Despite this being a case involving fictional children, it was clear from the conversations that Allaway believed they were real.

“Allaway’s online conversations were graphic, and his disturbing sexual interest in children cannot be denied. His intent to attempt to commit abuse was made apparent by the efforts he went to in researching a date, time and location to see his intended victims.

“This investigation was led by the Internet Child Abuse Team (ICAT) who work extremely hard to target those who use the anonymity of the internet to abuse children.

“It is incredibly challenging work, but the team’s commitment has led to a dangerous paedophile being put behind bars.”

Detective Chief Inspector Al Burns of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “Our team of online investigators work hard to ensure that the people like Martin Allaway are identified and not able to pose a further threat to children.

“I’m thankful that we were able to work in partnership with colleagues in Hampshire to bring him to justice.”