Paedophile who had nearly 4,000 sick images of children some as young as five months old avoids jail
A paedophile has avoided jail despite disgusted police officers finding he had possessed “distressing” sex images of babies as young as five months old.
Lee Wilding, 41, boasted 3,992 vile images of children aged between five months and 14 years-old downloaded to seven devices.
Bolton Crown Court heard nearly all the images had been deleted prior to his arrest using hi-tech encryption and deletion software.
Greater Manchester Police experts recovered the disturbing trove of highest category child abuse imagery- with one an “extreme” photo of an animal.
But on Thursday Wilding avoided jail with a 16-month suspended sentence after admitting three charges of “making” pornographic images of children and an extra eight-month suspended sentence for the animal image.
Judge Elliot Knopf admitted the case was “difficult” and wanted the matter dealt with to “reduce” the likelihood of a repeat offence – “rather than leave it untreated”.
As well as his suspended sentence, Wilding was slapped with 40 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.
Wilding was additionally handed a six-month curfew, requiring him to be at home between 7pm and 5am each night, and an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
He has also signed the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and was ordered to pay costs of £340.
Prosecutor James Preece told how software designed to delete and conceal Internet history was discovered when investigators searched the devices.
The charges were brought for photographs and videos downloaded between May 2015 and February 2017.
But Wilding, of Wigan, Greater Manchester, disputed the dates – claiming he stopped looking at the images in November 2016.
Mr Preece outlined a number of “aggravating factors” including the fact that 17 of the images were videos.
He also explained that of the 3,993 photographs, 799 fell into the most serious category
The prosecutor said: “The first aggravating factor is the age of the children.
“The estimated age range is as low as five months and the majority were between five and 10 years old.”
GMP officers investigating Wilding’s computer devices also found the image of young girl, aged between four and six, who appeared to be in “in pain.”
Mr Preece added: “She appeared to be distressed and crying.”
He asked Judge Knopf to take into account Wilding’s attempts to use ‘deleting’ software to hide traces of photographs or incriminating Internet history.
Police seized 4,192 child sexual abuse images
A judge will deal with a Wigan man caught with indecent images of children aged as young as six months.
Police found nearly 800 child sexual abuse images files of the most serious nature on computer equipment belonging to Lee Wilding.
Prosecutor Katie Beattie told Wigan and Leigh magistrates that the images mainly portrayed children who were aged 10 to 15. “
But some ranged down to six months,” she added. Wilding, 41, of Gorman Street, pleaded guilty to making 799 indecent photos, of the most serious level of indecency.
He also admitted to two further offences, relating to a further 3,193 child abuse pictures, and one charge of possession of extreme pornographic material involving sex with a dog.
Miss Beattie said it was the prosecution’s case that the charges were too serious to be dealt with by magistrates, given the likely sentence on conviction.
Melissa Fagan, defending, said it was accepted by her client, who has now previous criminal convictions, that the case could not be dealt with on a summary basis.
She told the court the offences had a sentencing range of between six months and three years custody and it had to be conceded that a number of images, at the highest level of severity, had been discovered.
Magistrates committed Wilding for sentence at Bolton Crown Court, on January 17, on unconditional bail.
Pre-sentence reports were also ordered by the bench but no interim reporting notification, under the terms of the sex offenders register, has been imposed before the next hearing.