A former Radio 1 DJ has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for preying on children in the Philippines through his online dating profile.
British national Mark Page, 63, of Ingleby Barwick, Teesside, was found guilty by the Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday of four abuse charges for arranging the commission of a child sex offense, leading the judge to describe him as the “embodiment of depravity.”
The court learned that the former Radio 1 host and Middlesbrough FC’s stadium announcer had used the alias “Pancho” while looking for young Filipino girls on the website Find Your Filipino Beauty.
The court also learned that Page had attempted to negotiate a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, arguing 3,000 Philippine pesos (approximately $57) was too expensive.
“The offenses of which you have been convicted involve the grotesque sexual abuse of young children for your own sexual gratification,” Judge Paul Watson QC said. “You took advantage of the poverty and deprivation in an underdeveloped country in which children are routinely forced, through economic and social deprivation, into acts of prostitution.”
Authorities were able to track down one of Page’s victims, a then-13-year-old waitress, who is now living in a safe location in the Philippines.
During his hearing, prosecutors heard Page had used his frequent business travels to the Philippines as a cover for his predatory agenda. Page purportedly traveled to the Southeast Asian country regularly as “managing director of armed forces radio station Garrison FM.”
The father of three had his phone, tablet and laptop seized in 2020. Investigators reportedly checked his devices as well as his Skype activity and bank transfers before charging him. Authorities purportedly found graphic messages describing the sex acts he wanted the victims to perform in those devices.
During the hearings, Page claimed his accounts were hacked and that someone else used his phone during the incidents between 2016 and 2019. He reportedly did not mention this, however, in his original police interviews, instead stating he had “no comment.”
Speaking to reporters, Detective Sergeant Kevin Carter from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team said he was very pleased with the sentence, adding that Page “didn’t want to take responsibility during the proceedings or the investigation.”
“Page attempted to present himself as a respectable and credible individual, yet his actions betrayed the trust and confidence of many people, not least his family and close friends,” Carter said.
Featured Image via Mark Page