A PERVERT who carried out a ‘systematic trawl’ online for indecent images of children which he then hid on his computer has narrowly escaped being jailed.
Andrew Poole was told by a judge at Warwick Crown Court that he would have locked him up straight away if he had not got the power to impose a suspended sentence instead.
The 61-year-old, of Handsworth Crescent, Eastern Green, had pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children, two of distributing them, and one of possessing extreme pornography.
He was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work, to take part in a rehabilitation activity, to register as a sex offender for ten years and to pay £192 costs.
Prosecutor Andrew Tucker said in August last year the police went to Poole’s home after receiving information about his internet activity.
They seized his laptop and his mobile phone which were later examined and found to contain around 370 indecent images of children, including both stills and movies. Of those 250 were classed as being in category A.
Some of the images had been deleted, but others had been stored by Poole in such a way as to hide them from any other users of the laptop, pointed out Mr Tucker.
And over a period of up to three days in August last year images had been available on the laptop for distribution through a peer-to-peer file-sharing site.
When Poole was interviewed, he made full admissions to downloading the images and admitted he had been deliberately searching for them online.
But he said he had not deliberately distributed any of them, and that it had happened when he had been downloading images himself using the peer-to-peer software.
Rajinder Gill, defending, said: “The best mitigation is his early guilty pleas, followed by the fact that he has taken steps to address his offending behaviour.
“When he was arrested, the Lucy Faithful Foundation was recommended to him by the officer, and he has sought their assistance and completed some online courses.”
Sentencing Poole, Judge Peter Cooke told him: “This is a case which is aggravated by the systematic trawl for material and by the way you had hidden it once it was acquired, and it is most aggravated by the distress which was manifest on some of those depicted in some of the images.
“If the power to suspend sentences did not exist, I would lock you up straight away.”