August 2017

Hull paedophile watched films of children ‘in pain’

A man who viewed films and photographs of children in “obvious pain” while they were being sexually abused was turned in by his ex-partner.

Father-of-two Craig Ferguson admitted it was for his own sexual gratification, but avoided a prison sentence after a judge said society would be better protected by him attending a rigorous rehabilitation programme.

His ex-partner says he should have been jailed, and doubts whether he is willing or capable of reform.

She says the 27-year-old deliberately destroyed evidence in the police hunt for him, and he openly admitted he had been viewing such material

“I think it’s pretty disturbing,” she said after the hearing at Hull Crown Court.

“Personally, I don’t think it ever goes away. For him to have taken it seriously and realised everything, a small custodial sentence I feel would have done that. Personally I don’t think he will [reform].”

Police first began investigating Ferguson in January 2015 after discovering indecent images of children were being downloaded at addresses associated with him. But nothing incriminating was found when they checked computer equipment at the addresses.

Phillip Evans, prosecuting, said: “Learning of these inquiries in September 2016, the defendant’s former partner contacted the police and said that she had found some old computer equipment, hard drives, and decided to bring them to the police for examination.”

On the hard drives, police found, “organised in a folder”, 25 movies and images at Category A – the most serious – 12 movies at Category B, and one Category C movie.

Two weeks after the hard drives were handed in Ferguson was arrested. He initially claimed in interview the hard drives belonged to a colleague and the material was theirs, but days later contacted police and “made admissions”.

Mr Evans said aggravating features included the age of some of the victims, and some were obviously in distress.

He said: “Some of the children were as young as about five years old. The defendant was to say that the children were 11 or 12 but he has seen younger. The police say as young as five.

“Some of the children, not the five-year-olds, were in obvious pain as those who made the images carried out their work. The defendant was entirely candid with the police, saying he had accessed such material for some time since being a teenager, and it was a stimulus.”

Ferguson, of Southcoates Avenue, east Hull, admitted making indecent photographs of children.

Recorder Sophie Drake told Ferguson: “This is very serious offending. You have to understand that in order for a man like you to have your desire satisfied, children have to be abused, and if it wasn’t for people like you those children wouldn’t be abused. This is very far from a victimless crime.

“But you are somebody who in my view needs help so you do not resort to this behaviour again, which inevitably means the abuse of more children. In my view, in order to protect the public properly, the way to do that is through a community order.”

Ferguson was sentenced to a three-year community order and must attend the Northumbria sex offenders group programme. He must also have six months supervision, register as a sex offender for five years, and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

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