August 2017

Convicted sex offender avoids prison after breaching prevention order

A convicted sex offender who gained sexual gratification by looking at photos of young children in gymnastic poses and “upskirt” footage that he found on Youtube has escaped a prison sentence.

Tony Robert Childs was banned from viewing such material after being made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) following his previous conviction for sexual offences.

However when police did a random check at his home and discovered what he had been doing he was arrested, Somerset Magistrates were told.

When Childs, 48, of Cowl Street, Shepton Mallet, appeared in the dock at Yeovil they were told that he had stated he would “always have a sexual interest in young children”.

He said that viewing the images had made him feel better but he now wanted the help of the Probation Service to help prevent him offending again.

“I want to explore things to make myself safer and protect other people and make them safer”, he told the court.

The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of a SOPO made by Luton Crown Court on December 12, 2011 by using the internet to search for “pre-teen gymnastics” and “pre-teen upskirt footage” at Shepton Mallet between June 18 and August 16 last year.

Prosecutor Robert Reid said that when the defendant was made subject to the SOPO it placed a number of restrictions on him including a prohibition from him accessing the internet apart from educational purposes, banking, shopping and various other named activities.

“On August 10 the police did a home visit and examined his laptop and found the search items of pre-teen gymnastics and pre-teen upskirt footage which had been visited on various dates,” he said.

“He was interviewed and said that he would always have a sexual interest in children and at the time had been feeling low following the break-up of a relationship.

“He decided to cheer himself up by looking at some pictures of children and because it was on Youtube he didn’t believe he would come across any indecent images of children, but has now accepted he has breached his order.”

Childs told the magistrates that he recognised he had done wrong but had been getting over the break-up of two relationships at the time.

He said that one of the relationships was for five years and he then got into another one which didn’t work out and it really knocked him.

“I did not appreciate what I was doing and should have used the techniques that I have learnt from my courses, however I turned to the internet and thought I was being a bit clever by using Youtube,” he said.

April 2002

Five years jail for pervert teacher

Shamed teacher Tony Childs is starting a five-year jail sentence for a string of “shocking” sex attacks on young girls, prompting a high-level review of Southend’s child protection procedures.

Southend Council vowed to learn lessons after the 32-year-old paedophile admitted seven counts of indecent assault and asked for seven similar offences to be taken into account at Basildon Crown Court.

Childs, who taught at Blenheim Primary School, Leigh, will be placed on the national sex offenders’ register for life and if he re-offends within two years of his release from prison he will automatically go back to jail.

Distraught parents of his victims, aged between five and 12, sat in the public gallery as they heard Judge Philip Clegg tell the defendant: “These were shocking offences.”

He said Childs, of St Andrew’s Road, Shoebury, got “some sort of perverted thrill because of the danger involved” in his offending.

The judge said he gave Childs credit for confessing to the attacks and for sparing the girls and parents the ordeal of giving evidence in the witness box.

His barrister, Christopher Paxton, said Childs did not come up with lots of excuses for the way he acted and he wanted to apologise to his victims and their parents.

Mr Paxton went on: “It’s easy to paint him as a monster, but he is a man who showed genuine remorse.”

Southend Council has pledged a programme of action to ensure its child protection procedures are working and that each department involved is working effectively.

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