May 2017

Alien-obsessed loner caught with 10,000 child sex abuse images but avoids jail

A pervert obsessed with UFOs, aliens and child sex abuse has avoided jail despite being caught with a stash of more than 10,000 images.

Welder Simon Hermes suffered terrible misfortune in his life so withdrew from society into his own fantasy world.

Tragically for young children this included downloading hundreds of the most vile and horrific images.

The 48-year-old’s house was raided in June last year by police. They found eight hard drives, five of which contained child abuse images.

Hermes admitted three counts of downloading indecent images at Chelmsford Crown Court earlier this year. He was sentenced yesterday, by Judge David Turner QC, having been caught with 531 images at the highest category A.

He also had 10,405 in category B and 468 in category C.

The court heard Hermes, of High Street, Braintree, suffers from recurrent depressive disorder and has repeatedly taken overdoses to try to end his own life.

Six years ago his mother died of breast cancer and his partner is believed to have killed herself due to illness.

Judge David Turner said: “The court faces a dilemma when coming to sentence men like you. You have sufficient understanding and intelligence to recognise these are by no means victimless crimes.

“Every single one of these children featured in the images you have been looking at for a number of years are someone’s daughter or son.

“Often the lives of these children are permanently damaged.

“There will have to be a prison sentence. The only question is whether it is suspended.”

He continued: “You possess some strange views and obsessions not related to sex and there is no doubt at all you have led an isolated life.

“You are very obviously psychologically if not psychiatrically vulnerable.”

Hermes was jailed for 14 months to be served concurrently on each count suspended for two years.

He will have to carry out 180 hours unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days with a five year sexual harm prevention order limiting his use of the internet.

He will also be on the sex offenders’ register for a decade.