August 2017

Paedophile with ‘sick’ baby rape images avoids jail

A Coventry man who had sick images of children as young as 12 months old being raped has escaped being jailed – despite continuing to deny being responsible to a probation officer.

Martin Barnes (36) of Riley Square, Bell Green, Coventry, had pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography.

But at Warwick Crown Court he was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity to address his sexual offending.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that police intelligence officers ‘keep a very careful eye on what is happening in the world of peer-to-peer transferring’ over the internet.

As a result, they found information which led to them executing a warrant at Barnes’s home in February and seizing his laptop computer and a memory card.

On them they found 16 movies and 196 stills assessed as being in category A, showing children as young as 12 months old being subjected to penetrative sex acts by adult males.

There were 12 movies and 189 stills in category B, of children involved in non-penetrative sex acts, and 599 category C stills of children in naked or indecent poses.

In addition, officers found an extreme pornographic image of a sex act involving an animal, and 709 other images ‘of a prohibited nature’ but which did not result in a specific charge.

The images, some of which were in an inaccessible area of the computer, having been deleted after being viewed, had been downloaded between April last year and the beginning of February.

When he was questioned, Barnes claimed other people may have accessed his computer remotely, and that he had no idea how they had got onto the computer, which he said he had only built in December last year.

But Mr Windridge pointed out that, although there was remote access software on the computer, it had not been activated – and the accessible images, which had been obtained using search terms including Lolita, were stored in a folder named ‘Martin.’

Recorder Steven Evans told Barnes’s barrister: “I’ve read the pre-sentence report in which he denies culpability.

“I don’t see how I can consider the recommendation. If he’s not taking the first step, there would be little hope of him engaging with the probation service.

“Although he pleads guilty, he says it’s on the basis that he can’t explain how they got there. He denies looking for or downloading or viewing the images, and says he has no sexual interest in children.”

Sentencing Barnes, and ordering him to register as a sex offender for ten years, Recorder Evans told him: “Your offending does pass the custody threshold, but I’m going to suspend it.