June 2016

High-flying South Shields oil and gas worker’s child abuse images stash ‘left police needing counselling’


A high-flying oil and gas worker’s sick collection of child abuse images left detectives needing counselling and a judge saying they were the worst he had seen in 35 years.

James Kirkley blamed “boredom” for downloading almost 15,000 indecent photographs and videos, including newborn babies being molested, a young child who had been bound and gagged and abuse involving animals.

A court heard the married grandfather had also shared some of his vile library with other perverts online.

Now Kirkley, 54, who had a lucrative job in the oil and gas industry at the time, has been jailed for two years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sentencing him, Judge Stephen Earl said: “One of the images, an officer tells me, and I cannot disagree, is perhaps the worst image that has been seen, such that the officers themselves have had to be referred for counselling.

“They demonstrate some of the worst, if not the worst, in 35 years, that I have seen.”

The judge said the public would find it “inexplicable” that a man could get sexual gratification from seeing such abuse.

He told Kirkley: “You did not directly abuse these children but your participation, in watching and distributing this, fuels that very thing.”

Kirkley, who confessed to having a sexual attraction to children, had a hoard of 14,676 disturbing images on two laptops when he was arrested in January.

One image showed a very young child “bound, gagged and helpless” during a sickening attack and Kirkley’s video collection showed animals involved in the abuse of youngsters.

As well as downloading the shocking images for his own collection, Kirkley shared his pictures and videos with like-minded perverts online.

Kirkley, of Longstaff Gardens, South Shields, pleaded guilty to making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children as well as possessing extreme pornography.

The images range from the worst of their type, which is category A, to the less extreme category C.

He said he started the horrifying collection due to “boredom”.

He was jailed for two years, must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and abide by a lifelong sexual harm prevention order.

Graeme Cook, defending said when word spread across the community of Kirkley’s arrest and the circumstances, he was issued with threats and had his windows put out.

The court heard Kirkley had already started to delete some of the images before the police got involved and was disgusted by some of them himself and didn’t view all of them.