July 2018

Gravesend pervert jailed for breaching sexual harm prevention order

A pervert who walked free after downloading more than 400,000 images and films of children being sexually abused has been jailed for breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

But as Christopher Stead had served the eight month sentence imposed while on remand, he was due to be released immediately.

The 30-year-old former Network Rail employee was also facing 19 more charges of possessing and making hundreds of indecent images of children dating back to 2011.

But the prosecution offered no evidence on the charges after it was accepted they were left over from when he committed the original offences.

Maidstone Crown Court heard in November last year that Stead, of The Poplars, Gravesend, trawled through the material when he was out of work and depressed.

Videos included a young girl crying during her ordeal and a baby “possibly struggling” while being sexually assaulted.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, with a condition to attend a sex offenders’ programme. He was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and a tagged curfew was imposed for four months.

Police made checks on Stead on January 18 and discovered he was in possession of a laptop computer, hard drive, SD cards, SIM cards, USB stick and mobile phone they had not been made aware of.

“The criminality here is he subject to a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO),” said prosecutor Oliver Dunkin. “He knows the rules and what he should hand over.

“Various images were found but they appear to be a hangover from the original search two years before. The concern for the Crown is the ability to monitor him.”

Judge Julian Smith told Stead, who admitted breaching the SHPO: “You knew full well the situation and to that extent the breach is a serious one. The concern the police had about you remains and is real.

“I could activate the suspended sentence but its impact would be diminished. You know the consequences of misconduct now having been put into custody.

“The best way to control you and manage the risk is to leave not only the SHPO in place, but also the suspended sentence order.

“I warn you that further breaches will inevitably result in activation of that sentence.”

Stead was fined £140 and ordered to pay it at the rate of £10 a week.

November 2017

Paedophile Christopher Stead, of The Poplars, Gravesend, avoids jail

Videos included a young girl crying during her ordeal and a baby “possibly struggling” while being sexually assaulted.

But instead of sending Network Rail employee Christopher Stead to jail, a judge decided a suspended sentence with “strict conditions” could be imposed.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the 30-year-old had not told his employer about the offences and was on annual leave when he appeared in court on Thursday.

Police went to his home in The Poplars in Gravesend after receiving information that an indecent video of a child had been uploaded to the internet.

Prosecutor Robert De Banzie said university-educated Stead initially denied knowing anything about the video.

His laptop computer and tablet were seized and a “very, very large amount” of images were discovered – about 422,000, including 14,000 videos.

Mr De Banzie said Stead faced three “specimen” charges involving 3,500 images and clips of all levels of seriousness and one of possessing extreme images of adults having sex with animals.

After his arrest, Stead, who admitted the offences, said he had used a chatroom where links led to images and videos. Asked what images he looked at, he replied: “All sorts.”

Judge Martin Joy sentenced Stead to 12 months suspended for two years. He will have to attend a sex offenders’ programme and complete 150 hours unpaid work.

He will be under a tagged curfew for four months from 8pm to 5.30am.

His name will appear on the sex offenders’ register and he will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.