January 2018

Southmead carer had huge secret stash of child abuse images and videos

A carer who amassed a hideous stash of 220,000 child abuse images and videos has been jailed.

Police acting on information visited Michael Bowden at his Westleigh Road home, in Southmead, and searched his computer in December 2016.

They found a vast collection of child abuse stills and footage involving children as young as five, some of which Bowden had shared with a fellow paedophile.

Bowden, 65, pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent photograph and three charges of possessing an indecent photograph.

Judge Michael Longman jailed him for two years and handed him a Sexual Harm Prevention Order designed to stop his re-offending and told to register as a sex offender, both indefinitely.

He told Bowden: “People who view material of this sort are sharing in the offence which is committed.

“There was a huge number of victims of sexual abuse. Such children are abused so images can be taken of it and distributed to a wider audience.

“By being part of that audience you participate in part of the offences.”

Robin Shellard, prosecuting, said only a portion of Bowden’s indecent material was analysed by the Bristol-based high tech crime unit.

Of material sampled, police recovered 567 images and 56 videos at Category A – which is the highest level of abuse.

It was also established Bowden had online chats with a man and, from March 2014, had sent a little more than 100 images and videos to him picturing abuse across the range from Category A to C.