THE former landlord of a pub in Lower Walton who collected a ‘worrying’ number of indecent images of children has been given a suspended sentence.
Stephen Hammersley, of Eastford Road, was given the chance to address his sickening behaviour by a judge at Chester Crown Court on Monday after police uncovered hundreds of photographs and 12 videos of child abuse.
The 51-year-old, who pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images and one count of distributing indecent images, was handed a seven-month sentence which was suspended for two years.
The court heard how police received information that a category C image had been distributed via the internet and an investigation was launched to trace those involved.
A raid was carried out at The Stag at Walton in July and a number of devices were seized.
Hammersley was detained and during his first interview he replied ‘no comment’ to questions by detectives.
But he was interviewed for a second time after IT experts uncovered 130 category A photographs, 132 category B and 923 category C images.
Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was rearrested on September 11 – a couple of months after he was first arrested.
“During that interview he provided admissions to the police when faced with the number of indecent images and the distribution of category C indecent images.”
Judge Nicholas Woodward, sentencing, said: “Over a five-year period you accessed indecent images of children.
“There were a large number of indecent images found on your computer equipment and it is seriously worrying having regard to the age of some of the children involved.”
He added: “You were assessed to be of a low risk of reoffending, you pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court hearing and I’m quite satisfied that you are genuinely remorseful for what you have done.
“You are seeking to tackle your offending directly through your own means and outside agencies.
“You are treating your offending in an appropriate and serious way.”
Hammersley was ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity.
A sexual harm prevention order was also imposed as well as destruction of the electronic devices.