September 2016

Paedophile escapes jail term after breaching Sexual Offences Prevention Order


A pensioner who was being monitored following a conviction for possessing indecent images of children was found to have downloaded more at his home in Marsh.

David Croft, 68, was sentenced to a three-year community order at Bradford Crown Court in 2010 for having more than 39,000 images and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

Peter Byrne, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that Croft was also placed on the sex offender’s register and following the conviction he was visited on occasions at his home in Marsh by a public protection review officer.

On August 15, 2013 the officer asked to examine a laptop and found on the internet history the name Angelina which brought up a photo of a girl aged approximately 12 in a model pose which, although not indecent, she considered breached the restrictions imposed under Croft’s SOPO and noticed it had been viewed about three weeks earlier.

Croft admitted looking for search terms such as ‘nymph’ and ‘teens’ and accepted there might be some pictures of girls “probably naked.” She asked him to shut down the laptop and contacted the police who seized two laptops.

They were subsequently examined and on one 1,851 indecent still images of children were found which had been created between November 9, 2012 and July 26, 2013.

The images included 127 at Category A, the most serious, 65 at Category B and 1659 at Category C. The examining expert also discovered on one laptop soft-wear designed to hide any deletions.

Matthew Harding, representing Croft, said although the images were found in 2013 the case had not reached crown court for a further two years. He had denied some of the allegations for a time leading to some delay before he pleaded guilty but in the three years since the discovery there had been no further offending.

The probation service believed they could work further with him.

Croft, of Croft House Lane, Marsh, admitted three breaches of the Sexual Offences Prevention Order and 21 of making indecent images. He was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison suspended for two years with a community order and 60 days rehabilitation activity. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Judge Neil Clark told Croft had he been before the court soon after the offences were discovered he would have jailed him immediately but because of the unexplained delay in the case he had improved his situation by no further offending.

“You committed what are serious offences, court orders are there to be obeyed and people who breach them normally go to prison.”

He said viewing such images contributed to the abuse of the children depicted.

October 2010

Community sentence for Marsh man found with 40,000 child pictures

A MARSH man who had almost 40,000 indecent images of children on his computer was caught after a tip-off from America.

David Croft has avoided a jail term even though the judge did say he had concerns that Croft could be a danger to children.

Police seized Croft’s computer and found 39,968 child porn images – including one of a girl aged around eight involved in a sex act.

Sentencing the 63-year-old, the judge said that Croft appeared to be in denial about the reason why he had accumulated such a large amount of images.

Croft said during a police interview that he did not view images of young children as indecent provided that they were not doing something sexual.

Croft was given a three-year community order when he appeared before Bradford Crown Court.

The judge was told that back in February 2008 officers initially visited Croft’s home in Croft House Lane, Marsh, where they found two A4-sized indecent photographs of naked girls aged about eight.

Prosecutor Mr Mackay told a judge that more than 39,000 images were at level one, 74 level two images, 28 level three images and 15 level four images – one below the most serious.

Mr Mackay said police went to Croft’s then business premises in Milnsbridge where they seized a lap-top, a flash drive and an external hard drive.

Mr Mackay added: “When interviewed the defendant said that he enjoyed looking at the naked form, but not in a sexual way.

“He said that he did not view images of young children as indecent provided they were not doing something sexual. He said that anything that did show that must have been downloaded by accident.”

Judge Peter Benson pointed out that Croft’s comments were inconsistent with his possession of the level four photograph in his bedroom, which showed a sexual act taking place involving an eight-year-old girl.

The judge was told that police had gone to Croft’s home after they received a tip-off from America about a DVD which had been posted to him.

Judge Benson told Croft: “It seems to me, despite what you said to the police and the probation officer, you clearly accumulated this material for the purposes of sexual gratification.

“In those circumstances it seems to me there is a risk that you might cause serious sexual harm to children so for that reason I am going to make a sexual offences prevention order.”

Croft, who has no previous convictions, had earlier admitted 22 charges relating to possession of specific indecent images and a further allegation which included the remainder of the images.

Judge Benson said he was taking account of Croft’s guilty pleas, his health problems and previous good character as he imposed a three-year community order. The order includes supervision for three years and a requirement that Croft attends a sex offenders treatment programme.

Croft is banned from using the internet other than for work, study or seeking employment.

He is also banned from accessing sites for under-16s and deliberately having possession of photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.

Judge Benson said it was also a case requiring him to disqualify Croft indefinitely from any kind of work involving contact with children.

Croft will have to register as a sex offender with the police for the next five years.

The judge told Croft that the element of denial in his case could best be dealt with under the community order, which would require him to attend a number of sessions for the sex offenders treatment programme.

Croft will also be required to attend any other courses or programmes as directed by his supervising officer.