A photograph of two convicted Wellington paedophiles together at a birthday party has sparked a police investigation into their relationship.
In an odd coincidence, both men appeared in Wellington District Court on Friday for sentencing for unrelated child sexual offences.
Wellington District Child Protection Team head Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Holden said it was only late into their investigations that police discovered a photograph of the two men on one of the pair's computers.
It was was unclear where or when the photograph was taken.
While there was no suggestion that they were involved in a paedophile ring, their link still warranted further inquiries, Holden said.
Porirua man Larne Davies, 42, was sentenced to five years, three months' imprisonment on Friday, with the Judge Bill Hastings calling his offending horrible.
The court heard that Davies had sought therapy for his attraction to girls but in early 2012 carried out his desires.
The police summary of facts showed Davies met a vulnerable child and befriended her. He then led her to isolated areas, coaxing her into exposing herself and indecently assaulting her at least six times and continued to offend with a second victim.
He came to police attention after sharing child abuse images of one of the girls online with an undercover agent.
Davies hung his head as the children's families detailed their psychological trauma in statements read to the court. His lawyer, Sonia Thistoll, said her client was "extremely remorseful for the pain that he has caused".
The second man - also in his 40s - was granted name suppression at his victims' request.
He had initially pleaded not guilty in February to sexual offences against two girls but admitted the abuse two weeks before trial.
The court heard he targeted the single mother at a group she attended, moving in with the family to get access to her daughters and managed to hide the sexual abuse from her for several years.
In a victim impact statement read to the court the mother told of her horror at his preying on her family, labelling him a "monster."
"You have stolen my girls' innocence."
The judge said the man had blackmailed his victims and deceived their mother. He jailed him for 15 years, seven months' imprisonment and ordered him to complete rehabilitative programmes before he could be eligible for parole. "You have simply put this family through hell."
- The Dominion Post