January 2018

Father downloads 60,000 indecent images of children

A father-of-four who downloaded tens of thousands of ‘poisonous’ images of children has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

A judge told 45-year-old Wayne Pugh he had not come across a case of its nature involving so many photographs.

Police were sent to Pugh’s Walsall home in March last year where they seized a number of devices after conducting a search of the property, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

He claimed he had downloaded the images accidentally but forensic evidence revealed he had been involved in the activity for seven years, said Ms Sati Ruck, prosecuting.

Officers found 62,410 images in the category 3 grade, of a less serious kind, and one image in the highest category A bracket, with some of the photographs involving children as young as three years of age.

Pugh told police in interview that he had downloaded images on just three occasions when searching for pornography involving adults or teens, which he understood to mean 18 and 19-year-olds.

When sexual pictures of children appeared on his computer, he deleted them, alleging his computer had a facility to recover deleted material and that he must have hit that button by mistake.

Rejecting the claim, the prosecution said he deliberately downloaded the images knowing they involved young people.

Pugh denied any sexual interest in children but accepted responsibility for having the images on his computer.

Defending him, Mr Oliver Woolhouse argued Pugh was of previous good character and was suffering from a number of medical issues.

But Judge Timothy Raggatt, QC, said he struggled to think of a case involving such a ‘massive’ number of indecent images.

“Quite what a 45-year-old gets in terms of gratification from this filth is beyond my comprehension,” he said. “I have rarely been involved in a case involving such an enormous quantity of such images.

“To claim you downloaded them inadvertently is frankly ludicrous. It’s perfectly obvious you looked for, downloaded and kept the images and your protestations to the police were just empty words.”

Pugh, of Severn Road, Walsall, pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent images of children.

The court heard that his partner was standing by him and the judge commended her for her support.

Handing Pugh a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years, he also ordered a two-year supervision programme to address his problems. “He needs to be weaned off this poisonous material,” said Judge Raggatt.

An order was also made for the forfeiture of Pugh’s computer and he was put on the sex offenders register for seven years.