June 2017

Burton woman who trawled web for images of child abuse has jail sentence cut

A Burton woman who trawled the internet for images of child abuse today saw her prison sentence cut by appeal judges in London.

Catarina Illingworth admitted a sexual interest in children after she was caught with 476 indecent images on her computer and mobile phone.

Some of the images were of the most serious kind as categorised by police, with some of the victims still babies.

Illingworth, of Ashdale Close, Brizlincote, admitted three child porn offences and was jailed for 18 months at Stafford Crown Court in February.

But today, after a challenge by her lawyers, three top judges slashed the “excessive” sentence to 14 months at the Court of Appeal.

Lady Justice Thirlwall said Illingworth had been more honest than most when confronted by police with her offending.

The court heard Illingworth, who was undergoing gender transition therapy, admitted first accessing adult pornography, but moving on to children.

The 37-year-old confessed that she had a sexual attraction towards children and had used explicit search terms to find indecent images online.

A computer was seized from her home in August last year and she was later arrested at work, when her phone was also taken.

A probation officer who assessed her said she had shown an “unusually high degree of honesty” when quizzed.

On appeal, her lawyers argued that 18 months was excessive, because the crown court judge had taken too much account of aggravating features of the case.

Reducing the sentence, the appeal judge, sitting today with Mr Justice Jeremy Baker and Mrs Justice Whipple, agreed that the term was too long. “We quash the sentence of 18 months imprisonment and impose in its place a sentence of 14 months’ imprisonment,” she said.

Illingworth appeared via a video link from prison, but spoke only to confirm her name.