November 2016

St Albans man downloaded thousands of child abuse images ‘because it was free’

A man who downloaded child abuse images because ‘if something is free, people will look at it’ has been sentenced.

Andrew Leefarr, 40, of St Nicholas Close, St Albans, was handed a community order on Friday (18) at St Albans Crown Court after pleading guilty to downloading indecent images of children.

The court heard that Leefarr told police that he had no sexual interest in children but “lived life on the edge”.

Prosecutor Laura Blackband said he went on to tell the officers that he was disgusted by the images, but she said that did not stop him looking at them. Ms Blackband said that police had gone to Leefarr’s shared accomodation at 6.30am on February 25 this year.

When they spoke to Leefarr, he admitted downloading porn, saying that some of the girls looked young, but denied looking at underage images.

Police searched his computer and found more than 2,000 files – five of which were the most serious Category, A, nine were Category B and the rest Category C – the least serious kind.

Ms Blackband said that had been using the BitTorrent file sharing service and had used the search terms indicating an interest in child pornography.

Police spoke to the three other occupants of the house, who all admitted to watching adult pornography, but none of them used BitTorrent.

Defending, Mr Ashley Hendron, said Leefarr faces bankruptcy for £80,000 debts. He had a drug problem and has taken both cannabis and cocaine.

The court heard that he was taking steps to tackle the drug abuse and was being supported by his family.

Judge John Plumstead told him: “You must get a grip of yourself. What a terrible mess. An evil streak in you has emerged and it is up to you to get it under control.

“If you re-offend, there will be no second chance. But for people like you, children would not be abused in this way.”

Leefarr was handed a three year community order with a rehabilitation requirement.

He must abide by the terms of a seven year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which means the police can monitor his Internet use and he must register as a sex offender.