July 2016

A THATCHAM man could be facing a hefty jail sentence after being caught with more than 40,000 child sexual abuse images.

In the dock at West Berkshire Magistrates’ Court last Thursday, was Robert Sudworth-Jones, of Masefield Road.

Magistrates have the power to impose a prison sentence of up to 12 months – but they told the 45-year-old that he deserved greater punishment than they could hand down.

Mr Sudworth-Jones, who was smartly dressed in a light grey suit, spoke only to confirm his name and address and to answer “guilty” to all charges put to him.

He admitted possessing 788 indecent images of Category A – the most serious.

He further admitted possessing 1,760 Category B images of children and a final charge of possessing 37,705 Category C images of children.

All the offences were committed at Mr Sudworth-Jones’ home between January 1, 2007 and April 16 last year.

Helen Waite, prosecuting, told magistrates: “The first thing you will have to decide is whether or not your powers of punishment are sufficient.

“You have heard the categories and the significant number of images involved. The Category A images in themselves would mean this is not suitable for summary dealing.”

Steve Molloy, defending, interjected: “I can short-circuit matters – we concede that this is Crown Court material.”

Ms Waite said that, under those circumstances she would not outline the facts of the case but would leave that for the Crown Court hearing before a judge.

She reminded the court that Mr Sudworth needed to be directed to sign on at a police station under an interim sexual harm prevention order and added: “There will be other requirements the Crown will be seeking at the sentencing hearing.”

Magistrates told Mr Sudworth-Jones they agreed he deserved greater punishment than they could impose and that he was being sent to Reading Crown Court for sentencing.

They ordered pre-sentence reports to be prepared on an all-options basis, including custody.

Mr Sudworth-Jones was meanwhile released on bail on two conditions; that he complies with the terms of the interim sexual harm prevention order and that he does not have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 18 years.