November 2016

Coventry man found with indecent images on his phone of young girls being raped avoids jail after court mistakes

A Coventry man who had images on his phone of young girls being raped has avoided jail after a judge had to sit as a magistrate because of mistakes made at the lower court.

Mark Gillings, aged 29, of Ribble Road, Stoke, was told by Judge Richard Griffith-Jones that no society could stand by and watch children being exploited in such a despicable way.

But following mistakes in the way the case had been dealt with at Coventry Magistrates Court, the Warwick Crown Court judge had to sit as a senior magistrate – with fewer sentencing powers – for new charges to be put.

Gillings then pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children by downloading them onto his computer and one of distributing an indecent image of a child.

He also pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing still indecent images of children on his mobile phones and one of possessing an indecent movie.

In addition, Gillings pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited computer-generated images (CGIs) of children and possessing extreme pornography showing adults in sex acts with animals.

Gillings was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 18 months, with supervision, was ordered to do 60 hours of unpaid work and to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Sentencing Gillings, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “I hope you’re ashamed of yourself.

“This is not a crime of what goes on in your own head, where you’re entitled to your own privacy.

“You have downloaded photographs, which provides a hideous market for individuals who abuse children.

“These are real children.

“No society can stand by and let its children be exploited in that despicable way.

“It is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified; but you’re a man of effective good character, and you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

Prosecutor Talbir Singh said the police searched Gillings’ home after it had come to the attention of the authorities that he had been receiving indecent images.

Officers seized his computer and two mobile phones, on which they found a total of 125 still images, and one movie classed as being in category A – showing children being subjected to penetrative sex acts.

There were 61 category B images, defined as showing children involved in non-penetrative sexual activity.

And a further 200 images on his computer and 159 on his phones were in category C, which covers children portrayed in naked or indecent poses without any actual sexual activity.

Of the most serious category A images, Mr Singh said they included the rape of young girls who were being forced to perform oral sex on adult men.

Gillings’ phones also contained 48 prohibited CGI images depicting children involved in sex acts with adults.

There were also ten images of extreme pornography showing adults of both sexes taking part in sex acts with animals.

When he was interviewed following his arrest, Gillings admitted he had viewed such material on his computer and phones, but had deleted them afterwards.

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