April 2017

Devon man who downloaded ‘abhorrent’ abuse of children spared jail

A utility worker has been sent on a sex offenders course after being caught with ‘abhorrent’ movies of young children suffering sexual torture.

Shane McCollum downloaded the sickening videos and still images from peer to peer file sharing sites on the internet and used them for sexual arousal.

He started by watching adult pornography but when it no longer aroused him he moved on to child images and sought ever more extreme material.

He was caught with 171 movies in the most extreme category A and 24 showing adults having sex with animals, Exeter Crown Court was told.

McCollum, aged 37, of Rising Sun, Dalwood, near Axminster, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme images.

He was jailed for 15 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake the 60 day probation-run ‘Maps for Change’ programme.

He was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) by Judge Erik Salomonsen.

He told him: “Some of the material depicted extreme cruelty and sexual offending against very young children. It was described by the prosecution as sexual torture.

“The images are abhorrent even by the standards of some of the material which is dealt with in this court. The offence is aggravated by the age of the children, their pain and distress, the fact many are moving images, and the number of children involved.

“These are not victimless crimes. Every time someone views these images it stimulates the demand among those who produce them to produce yet more of them.”

The judge said he was suspending the sentence because he believed the public were better protected by McCollum receiving treatment than serving a short jail sentence.

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said police acting on information about the use of peer to peer file sharing sites raided McCollum’s home in July last year and seized a laptop and other equipment.

They found a file marked ‘porn’ on the computer and images and movies on four data discs. There were 171 movies and four stills in the most extreme category and 119 at lower levels.

He said: “Some of the images are particularly extreme and depict scenes of what can only be described as sexual torture sometimes involving very young children indeed.”