April 2017

The worst kind of images – but paedophile avoids jail sentence

A paedophile has escaped jail time after refusing to give police passwords needed to get into his computers.

Even when a court order was obtained to try and force Andrew Layton to hand over the information, he was less than helpful claiming the passwords had been on a phone which had been stolen.

He set out what he described as possible passwords for the officers, but a court heard today the majority of the devices experts had wanted to forensically examine had remained unaccessible to them.

But on one device some indecent material was discovered which showed 51-year-old Layton had an unhealthy interest in young girls.

As a result of the images found showing pre-teen girls being subjected to sexual acts Layton of St Albans Road, Watford found himself in the dock at St Albans Crown Court today.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent photos of a child.

They featured some of the worst child sex abuse images possible and had been located by the IT worker online.

And because of the way he had refused to help the police, he pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with an order to supply the police with the necessary passwords need to look at material on his computers which had been encrypted.

Today Judge Jonathan Carroll told Layton it will never be known what was on the devices that the police and their experts had been unable to gain access to.

But he said the material found on one laptop, showed Layton had been looking at “revolting and repulsive” images.

The judge said “These are not victimless crimes.”

He said every one of the pictures represented a real child suffering real abuse at the hands of an adult.

“People who go and look at these images perpetuate that abuse,” he told Layton.

He then told him :”That kind of abuse has a profound impact on these poor innocents who suffer the abuse.”

The judge said the children shown in the images were young pre pubescent girls. In one case the victim had aged between four and six.

The information he did give officers still meant they were unable to see what was on the bulk of the devices that had been seized back in November.

The court heard it was possible for the police investigators to see that Layton had been looking at images as far back as 2010.

He had accumulated 4,700 files names which bore titles suggesting child sex topics.

Today the court was told it was Layton’s addiction to pornography which had led to him committing the offences.

But Charles Falk defending said his client of his own volition had taken steps himself following his arrest to tackle his problems and was engaged in counselling sessions.

He said Layton had served with the territorial army hand had raised money in the past for charities with cycle rides and marathons.

Judge Carroll sentenced Layton to 18 months imprisonment but suspended it for 24 months.

He ordered that he carry out 260 hours of unpaid work and he will be made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and his name added to the sex offenders register. He will also be involved in a 60 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Finally, he was told he would have to cough up £1,450 towards the cost of the prosecution.

The judge told Layton he rejected his account that his passwords and been stolen and he didn’t have them to hand over to the police.

He said he accepted that the nature of his work meant that Layton had to undertake work on behalf of clients where it was necessary for devices to be encrypted.