May 2017

Sex offender sentenced after downloading more than 1,600 child abuse images

A SEX offender from South Zeal has avoided prison after downloading more than 1,600 child abuse images onto his computer and attempting to cover his tracks with cleansing software.

Neill Sobey was spared a jail sentence and sent on a sex offenders’ treatment course in 2014 when he was caught with 2,579 images or movies.

He received a suspended sentence, which expired on March 13, 2016, exactly four weeks before he downloaded more images.

His activity also put him in breach of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) which was imposed in 2014 to control his use of the internet.

Sobey, aged 73, was caught with the software and more than 1,600 images which he had not yet erased during a routine police check at his home in April last year.

A check was made on devices seized from the house and four images at the middle category B and 1,611 images at the lowest category C were found.

There was also evidence of files with incriminating titles, including one called ’pre-teen model’.

After admitting to making indecent images of children and breaching a sexual offences prevention order, Sobey was jailed for six months by Recorder Mr Donald Tait, who also imposed a new Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for a further seven years.

Mr Tait told Mr Sobey: ’When you received a suspended sentence in 2014 a shot was fired across your bows. You have ignored it. You were subject to an order prohibiting certain types of software. You broke that quite deliberately.

’I take very much into account your age and infirmity and your guilty pleas. If this was your first offence, this sentence would have been suspended; but it is not, so immediate imprisonment is inevitable.’

In the 2014 case, Sobey was trapped by an international monitoring operation because he joined a website called Child Love which featured images and movies of toddlers and babies.

They included three movies showing children being forced to have sex by adults and six still images showing sadism or bestiality. Among the images were those of a child of about two being abused and another of a girl aged six to eight who was tied up and wearing a mask.

He also had a movie showing a man kissing and having sex with a golden retriever.

April 2017

Paedophile who had vile images of child abuse and bestiality faces jail

A convicted sex offender has been warned he faces jail for downloading more than 1,600 child abuse images just a month after his suspended sentence expired.

Neill Sobey was spared a jail sentence and sent on a sex offenders treatment course in 2014 when he was caught with 2,579 images or movies.

He received a suspended sentence which expired on March 13, 2016, exactly four weeks before he downloaded more images.

His activity also put him breach of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) which was imposed in 2014 to control his use of the internet.

Sobey, aged 73, of Hillhead, South Zeal, Okehampton, admitted making indecent images of children between April 11 and 14, 2016, and breaching a sexual offences prevention order. The first charge related to four category B images and 1,611 images at the lowest category C.

Judge Philip Parker, QC, adjourned his case and ordered a probation report.

He released him on bail but told him:”The most likely sentence is immediate custody because of the breach of the order.”

In the 2014 case Sobey was trapped by an international monitoring operation because he joined a website called Child Love which featured images and movies of toddlers and babies.

They included three movies showing children being forced to have sex by adults and six still images showing sadism or bestiality.

Among the images were those of a child of about two being abused and another of a girl aged six to eight who was tied up and wearing a mask.

He also had a movie showing a man kissing and having sex with a Golden Retriever.

He was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £225 costs and attend the internet sex offenders’ treatment programme as part of two years supervision.

He was also made subject of a SOPO which restricted his access to the internet and allowed the police to monitor his use of computers.

March 2014

Okehampton man found with child abuse and beastiality movies and images

A divorcee has been sent on a course for sex offenders after being trapped by an international monitoring operation and found with vile images of abuse on his computer.

Neill Sobey was traced to his home on Dartmoor after joining a website called Child Love and found with images and movies of toddlers and babies.

Police also found extreme images including a movie of a man having sex with a Golden Retriever among more than 3,500 illegal downloads on his computer.

Sobey, aged 70, of Hillfield, South Zeal, near Okehampton, admitted a total of 24 offences of making or possessing indecent images of children or extreme pornography.

He was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £225 costs and attend the internet sex offenders’ treatment programme as part of two years supervision.

Judge Jeremy Griggs said he was taking into consideration Sobey’s severe respiratory condition, which forced him to carry an oxygen pump with him at all times.

The judge told him: “The number and nature of these images take this case past the custody threshold but you have expressed your wish to undergo the sex offenders’ programme, which it would be in the interests of society for you to attend.”

Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said police did not have the resources to examine all 3,500 files on Sobey’s four hard drives but had found 2,579 child abuse images or movies.

They included three movies showing children being forced to have sex by adults and six still images showing sadism or bestiality.

Among the images were those of a child of about two being abused and another of a girl aged six to eight who was tied up and wearing a mask.

He also had a movie showing a man kissing and having sex with a Golden Retriever.

Mr Richings said that police received information from an international concern called Operation Voyage which had information that persons in this country were accessing a child abuse website.

“It was discovered the defendant was one of those people and a warrant was executed at his home.”

Mr Jeremy Harris, defending, said Sobey started using adult websites after the break up of his marriage and was drawn towards more extreme material by pop-ups.

He said: “Curiosity got the better of him and he started accessing images of young children and accepts he gained some gratification from it. He cooperated fully with the police and made full admissions and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

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