April 2017

Martin Thomas, aged 60, of Kingsley Avenue, was handed a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years

A REDDITCH grandad who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children, including four-year-olds being raped and abused, has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Martin Thomas, aged 60, of Kingsley Avenue, was caught with the illegal images after officers executed a search warrant at his home on April 14 last year and seized a large number of items and computer equipment.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said the images were of children between the ages of three and nine years.

There were 507 images at category A (348 stills and 159 movies), the most extreme abuse involving children.

There were 132 extreme pornographic images, made up of 94 stills and 38 movies.

When interviewed in January Thomas, who was of previous good character, said he did not realise the images classed as ‘extreme’, which showed bestiality, were illegal.

“He fully admitted he had been doing it for 10 years, ever since he first obtained a computer. He disputed he gained sexual gratification from it” said Mr Conry.

Thomas admitted three counts of making indecent images, one of possessing a prohibited image and one of possessing extreme pornographic images when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, April 21.

Richard Hull, defending, produced two references on Thomas’s behalf and said his client made full admissions in interview.

He said: “He immediately accepted responsibility for what he had done. He has been a productive member of society, raising two children without any concerns at all. He has strayed into an area of illegality which he deeply regrets.”

Mr Hull said Thomas’s wife remained supportive and his 40-year-old son was present at the court.

On sentencing Thomas, Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: “The abuse of them involves real rape of these children.

“You should reflect on how you might feel if it was your grandchildren who were raped at the age of four in the way you have seen in those photographs and films.

Judge Cartwright handed out a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He must complete 20 days of rehabilitation, 200 hours of unpaid work and complete a sex offender group work programme.

An application was granted for a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years which prohibits Thomas from having contact with any children under the age of 18 without the permission of his police offender manager and the social services department.

Any contact must be supervised by the child’s parent or guardian with full knowledge of his conviction and his sexual harm prevention order.

He is also prohibited from having a device capable of accessing the internet unless it has a capacity to display the internet search history and he must make it available on request to a police officer or police employee.

He is also prevented from having software or hardware with file wiping or encryption facilities.