November 2016

Paedophile avoids prison

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A GRANDFATHER who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children as well as extreme porn photos and movies has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Harold Smith, 49, was caught with the illegal material on his phone and computer hard drive after his name was linked to another offender, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Simon Waley said officers executed a search warrant earlier this year and seized the equipment after Smith’s name appeared on a Skype chat log during which paedophilic images were discussed.

The court heard that Smith’s phone contained nearly 100 indecent images of children and more than 700 were later found on his computer.

Mr Waley said the images involved female children aged between seven and 13 and the extreme pornographic images and movies, which totaled more than 600, concerned acts of bestiality.

“On examination of the computer evidence was founded a category ‘C’ image being shared, hence the distribution count at count 11,” said Mr Waley.

Unemployed Smith, of Braithwaite Walk, Keighley, pleaded guilty at an earlier crown court hearing to possessing indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornographic images and distribution of an indecent image of a child.

Mr Waley said most of the images were downloaded by Smith between 2013 and 2016 and there were discussions on chat logs which demonstrated a sexual interest in children.

Married Smith initially denied responsibility for the images when he was interviewed by police, but his solicitor advocate Andrew Walker said the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charges at the first opportunity before the crown court.

Mr Walker said Smith had lost his job over the offences but he still retained the support of his family.

“Here is a man who is genuinely remorseful for his actions and is actively seeking the assistance of professionals to help him,” submitted Mr Walker.

“He is genuinely wishing to seek professional help through the auspices of the probation services to ensure that this type of behaviour is not repeated again in the future.”

The court heard that Smith had no previous convictions for similar offending and Mr Walker argued that his client could still turn his life around.

Judge David Hatton QC said he could suspend Smith’s 14-month jail term for two years, but he also ordered him to do 120 hours unpaid work for the community and comply with a 50-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

“It is not always appreciated that offences of this nature have victims,” the judge told Smith.

“Those victims are the very children who are used and abused for the purpose of providing some sort of stimulation to those who view them.

“From what I have read and heard I have some belief that you appreciate that, certainly now, if you didn’t before and having, as you do, grandchildren that’s something you should apply your mind to.

“You are seemingly remorseful and I suspect acutely embarrassed at the conduct which has given rise to these proceedings.”

Judge Hatton said Smith had made efforts to address the “vile interest” that he had when he accessed the material.

Smith must now register as a sex offender with the police for the next ten years and Judge Hatton also imposed a ten-year sexual harm prevention order which restricts his contact with any children in the future.