December 2015

Man who had indecent images of girls as young as nine avoids prison

A “thoroughly dishonest” 62-year-old man who had indecent images of children – some in the most serious category – on his smartphone has been ordered to take part in sex offenders’ treatment programmes.

Victor James Balfour, of Penarth Road, Grangetown , Cardiff , had admitted two offences of possessing indecent images of girls as young as nine.

Police carrying out a search warrant at his home confiscated a mobile phone which was later found to include three downloaded photographs and a video in category A and a photograph in category B.

A search of the device’s internet browsing history revealed terms such as “young teens wanting sex”, prosecutor Richard Ace told Cardiff Crown Court on Monday.

Mr Ace also revealed that Balfour had told police who interviewed him the images had been sent to him via messaging service WhatsApp by a girl he was chatting to.

He claimed to police the girls in the pictures were adults and actors – and insisted he had simply forgotten to delete the images after they had been sent to him.

The court heard Balfour had a significant criminal past, although none for similar offences.

Condemning his “terrible record of convictions”, Judge Jonathan Furness QC told Balfour: “You are a thoroughly dishonest man who’s lived an unlawful lifestyle throughout your life.

“There seems to be little appreciation on your part for the harm your offending can cause.

“You are not directly abusing these girls but you are indirectly doing so and you are providing the market which creates the situation where they are abused.

“It’s a filthy, horrid crime and undoubtedly what you need is to learn that.”

Told he did not appear to understand the suffering which results from his crime, the defendant was handed a three-year community order, told to take part in the treatment programme and was made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

He must also pay court charges totalling £960.

The order sets out a series of measures with which Balfour must comply, including compelling him to make his internet browsing history available to police on request and banning him from having unsupervised contact with children.

Meanwhile, Judge Furness imposed a similar sentence on 49-year-old Nigel Hughes, of Lynmouth Crescent, Rumney , Cardiff, who admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of boys as young as 11.

Detectives found two category A pictures, nine in category B and four in category C on a Samsung Galaxy tablet belonging to Hughes, who had no previous convictions.