November 2017

Ex-civil servant who downloaded child rape videos claimed it was an “accident”

A former Border Agency and HMRC civil servant who downloaded videos of child rape claimed it was an “accident”.

James Stevens, 63, was spared jail yesterday after police experts found videos of children around 11 being raped on his computer.

Stevens, who spent 38 years working for the government, denied downloading the sick stash but was convicted of three counts of possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing prohibited images, relating to cartoons depicting child abuse.

The divorced dad-of-two, of Cambridge Road, Aintree , claimed he had been trying to download adult porn using the file sharing site Ares, and accidentally came across the videos and images.

He claimed he had failed to report the foul abuse because he “did not trust” Merseyside Police .

But during a trial at Liverpool Crown Court , the jury heard Stevens had downloaded multiple files with explicit titles including “very young girls having sex,” “young little boys play sex” as well as file names describing 13, 14 and 15-year-old girls involved in sexual activity.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting, told the court that police were unable to access the contents of most of the downloaded files because Stevens had used three separate pieces of software to clean his hard drives and his internet search history.

But one video rated as Category A, showing the most serious abuse, two Category B videos, three Category C images and seven prohibited images were recovered.

Judge Rachel Smith, sentencing, told Stevens: “People such as yourself, who download indecent images of children, are the people who create the market for the abuse of individual real children..

“You were prepared to acknowledge the impact of this type of offending on children but you put your own sexual desires and preferences above the acknowledgement of the damage done to those children.”

Judge Smith said she felt Stevens’ “entrenched” attitudes needed to be addressed to protect the public and handed him a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to complete 35 rehabilitation activity days and to sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

He was also made subject to a five year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, severely restricting his internet use and prohibiting him from unsupervised contact with children.

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