Paedophile jailed after being caught distributing thousands of indecent images of children
A MAN who went on the run to avoid justice has been jailed for more than three years after being caught distributing thousands of indecent images of children.
Stephen Carruthers, 44, has today been sentenced to three years and eight months at Carlisle Crown Court for possessing and distributing over 6,000 indecent images of children.
He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
In 2014 Stephen Carruthers was arrested at his home in Great Langdale, Cumbria and charged with possessing approximately 5,000 indecent images of children, before he fled the country for Europe.
In January 2017 he was involved in a road traffic accident in France leading the French authorities to carry out background checks on him. They found that he was wanted in the UK.
When they seized his laptop they found over 1,000 indecent images of children.
Victoria Atkinson, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “Stephen Carruthers was arrested three years ago at his home in Cumbria for possessing a huge amount of indecent images of children.
“He then skipped bail, fled the country, adopted a new identity and committed further offences whilst on the run.
“The CPS worked with the French authorities to extradite him back to the UK on a European Arrest Warrant to face both the original charges and to be further charged in relation to the images found on his laptop in France.
“The prosecution has presented a strong case to the court which has resulted in him today receiving a custodial sentence.
“Viewing and downloading indecent images of children is not a victimless crime. It contributes to the cycle of harm suffered by victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.”
Detective Sergeant James Bailey, Digital Media Investigation Unit, said: “I hope that this case will act as a deterrent to those who believe that they can get away with any form of child abuse.
“Carruthers attempted to evade justice by going on the run for almost three years. Following his capture in France, his new devices were interrogated and we found further evidence of him making indecent images even when on the run.