Private eye jailed for using false name to hide sex offender past
A private investigator has been jailed for creating a false identity to hide his own past as a registered sex offender.
Andrew Ashman ran an agency that looked into historic child abuse cases and miscarriages of justice but used at least two aliases while posting updates on the internet.
He adapted his true name to send Facebook messages as Drew Ashman and Andreales Manashay and start a website for his company Paradox UK.
The agency claimed to be investigating and making television documentaries about the Madeleine McCann case and historic abuse at children at care homes in Devon and Dorset.
However Ashman had his own secret.
He had been on the sex offenders register since being convicted of downloading child abuse images in 2007 and had already breached its conditions five times by failing to tell police about new addresses or false names.
He was advising others about abuse cases despite being subject to a suspended sentence for the previous breaches.
Ashman, aged 48, of Garfield Road, Paignton, admitted failing to comply with the register and was jailed for 12 months by Assistant Judge Advocate Alan Large at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him:”The police had spoken to you about using different names but despite that you did not tell them you were using this alias for perfectly genuine reasons on a Facebook account.
“You knew it was wrong and contravened the registration requirements. The aggravating features are the length of time it carried on, the fact you were in communication with the police about similar matters, and you past failures.”
Miss Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said police from the public protection team carried out a spot check and found Ashman was using a Facebook account under the name of Drew Ashman.
An investigation uncovered other aliases including the name of Andreas Manashay. He told police he was using them to start a new career running Paradox UK, which he said was a research, investigation and journalism agency.
Miss Payne said:”He has a number of past failures to notify addresses. There is nothing to suggest he used the aliases in any improper way. This was the deliberate use of aliases for more than a year.”