January 2018

Padgate man spared prison by ‘a whisker’ after collecting indecent images of children as young as five

A MAN who stored indecent images of children as young as five on electronic devices for his own sexual gratification has been spared jail.

Patrick Coulter, of Jurby Court, Padgate, was given a 15 month sentence which was suspended for two years at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard how the 35-year-old was detained after officers carried out a search warrant at his home in April 2015.

A number of electronic devices were seized and analysed by experts as part of an investigation into child abuse images.

Police later uncovered category A, B and C indecent images and videos of children on the computer equipment as well as extreme pornography including bestiality.

It was alleged by the prosecution that Coulter had actively searched for the shocking images of children online between April 2011 and April 2015.

Throughout the investigation Coulter maintained his innocence but he was convicted by a jury earlier this year of six counts of making indecent images of a child, possession of indecent photographs of children and possession of extreme pornographic images.

Martine Snowdon, defending, told the court how Coulter, who previously worked in the nursing industry, had lost his job and his future prospects.

The investigation also led to the breakdown of his relationship at the time.

She said: “He has spent his life other than his involvement with these images as a law-abiding, hard-working, respectful and respected individual both within his family and within his work environment.

“He has shown support and care within his roles professionally and he is much loved within his family.”

In a report carried out by the Probation Service, it was concluded Coulter was at a ‘low risk of reoffending.

Judge Robert Trevor-Jones blasted Coulter for not ‘exhibiting any element of remorse’ and condemned the possession of these images which ‘exploit children all around the world’.

But he decided to suspend the sentence due to Coulter’s previous good character.

He said: “If there had been any suggestion that you had distributed these images you would have been going straight to prison but by a whisker I am suspending the sentence.”

Coulter must also carry out 35 days of rehabilitation activity and 160 hours of unpaid work. He must also sign the sex offenders’ register and he is subject to a sexual harm prevention order.