July 2016

Pensioner jailed after child sexual abuse images are found on computer


A pensioner wept in the dock at Cardiff Crown Court when he was jailed for 12 months for being in possession of indecent pictures of children, some as young as two years old

Taekwondo teacher Ronald Thomas (65), a man with no previous convictions, of Court Road, Barry, pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing indecent images of children.

“His reputation and his marriage are now in shreds,” said his solicitor Nick Hartman.

Prosecutor David Pugh said at 9.40am on March 7, police officers executed a search warrant on Thomas’s then home at Guys Road, Barry.

They seized a laptop computer in an upstairs room which contained indecent images of children. He was arrested and the images were forensically examined.

Some were still and some were moving and all involved children, some aged 10-12, some five to six and some two to three years old. There were 15 category A, the most serious, 22 of B and 26 of C.

Mr Thomas told the police, said Mr Pugh, that he was the only person who used the computer and had at times “liaised” with other people with whom he had discussed adult images.

He said that initially, he had deleted these images, but returned to them. He also said that he was “totally ashamed” of what he had done.

Mr Pugh said that among the aggravating features were the ages of the children and that some were moving images.

Mr Hartman said: “People who know Thomas find it difficult to find him associated with such offences. He had worked on a voluntary basis within his community.

“From the start, he was honest, frank and open with the police.”

He said the impact on his life had been “catastrophic”.

He added: “He has been aware of a potential prison sentence for four months. There is clear remorse and he is motivated to address the issue and there are good prospects to rehabilitate him.”

Sadly, said Mr Hartman, Thomas was the author of his own misfortune and he found it difficult to explain why he committed the offences.

Recorder Catherine Brown told the defendant: “Until you committed these offences, you had a clean record. This was not a victimless crime, and these are serious offences which took place, perhaps over a period of two years, and it has had a devastating effect.

“Your wife of 48 years has left you. Society expects there has to be punishment to mark what you did.”

A Sexual Prevention Order was made for 10 years and Thomas was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Said the Judge: “This is not conduct society tolerates.”

He was ordered to pay a court surcharge of £100 and it was directed that his computer be forfeited.