December 2017

Child sexual abuse images man went back online

A Hungerford man who was convicted of child sexual abuse images offences has been brought back to court.

In the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, December 7, was Michael Andrew Freegrove, of Kennedy Meadow.

The court heard the 61-year-old had deliberately flouted the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) imposed by a crown court judge.

Ben May, prosecuting, said: “Mr Freegrove is a registered sex offender, convicted of making indecent photographs, and taking indecent photographs, in 2014.

“The order contains a prohibition against accessing, or attempting to access, the internet from any device which didn’t have protective software put in place, except in a business environment – and, even there, there had to be extra security measures.”

However, the court heard, police discovered Mr Freegrove had used a tablet bought by his ex-partner to access the internet twice.

Mr May said: “The first time he said it was for car insurance, but he can’t recall what he used it for on the second occasion.

“He told police he was fully aware of the terms of the order, but simply didn’t think he’d be found out. It was therefore a deliberate breach.”

Mr Freegrove admitted breaching the SOPO between January 1 and July 24.

A second charge, of owning a Galaxy Tablet and accessing the internet without informing the police, at Hungerford between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015, was not proceeded with.

Mr May told magistrates: “Aside from the substantive convictions, Mr Freegrove was cautioned in February this year for a failure to comply with the SOPO notification requirements regarding a particular address.”

Joanna Benn, defending, said: “I’m pleased to say Mr Freegrove has completed the three-year community order and the sex offenders treatment requirement with no breaches.

“On the first occasion he used the tablet it was to arrange car insurance.

“He can’t remember what he used it for on that second, particular occasion.”

She added: “His new fiancée is in court today to support him. These were very low level breaches, in my respectful submission.”

Ms Benn explained that the caution for the previous breach arose out of an overnight stay in a hotel, of which he was supposed to inform police, but failed to do so.

She said her client had merely been “stupid” in repeatedly breaching the SOPO.

After retiring to confer, magistrates fined Mr Freegrove £120 and ordered him to pay £85 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £30.