May 2017

Child abuse image pervert who walked free from court ‘didn’t realise’ pictures harmed real children

A child sexual abuse images addict said his arrest shocked him into realising his actions had supported the sexual abuse of real children.

Former youth hostel caretaker Alan Wood, 62, said it only dawned on him after Cleveland Police knocked on the door of his home.

A judge told him that courts treated internet child pornography as a serious offence – because real children were the victims and addicts boosted the demand.

Judge Peter Armstrong told him at Teesside Crown Court on Friday: “You need some assistance in dealing with the distorted thinking that it is appropriate to look at material like this.

“These are real children and they are victims of sexual abuse which is being supported by the demand from people who watch it.”

Wood, who had no previous convictions, replied from the dock: “I didn’t realise it, but I do now.”

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told Teesside Crown Court that Wood admitted to officers he would look two or three times a week for images.

The police became aware of his activities in June last year and on September 2 a search warrant was executed at his address in Hartlepool but he was not living there.

A forwarding address was found for him in Thirsk, and on September 7 he went voluntarily to a police station and he handed over a mobile phone and a laptop.

Miss Masters said that he was found to possess images at the most serious level including movies, and other images covering the the less indecent Categories

Wood, of Burbank Court, Hartlepool, was given an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years, with a treatment programme and 35 days rehabilitation activities after he pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing indecent images of children.

He was also given a sexual harm prevention order limiting his use of the Internet for 10 years, ordered to register as a sex offender for the same period and banned from working with children.