February 2018

Judge calls pervert ‘courageous’ for admitting amassing stash of over 300 child abuse images

A pervert who amassed a stash of almost 300 child abuse images has been described as “courageous” by a judge – for pleading guilty to the sick crimes.

Paul Hallett, 39, was to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court for three charges of making indecent photographs of children.

However, no trial took place as he pleaded guilty to the three counts on Monday.

The judge, Recorder Dafydd Enoch QC, told the defendant: “You’ve done the right and courageous thing pleading guilty if I may say so on the evidence I saw.”

Hallett had 277 of the illegal pictures in Middlesbrough between November 2012 and February 2014, including 43 images in the most serious category in law.

The court heard the defendant, of no fixed address, had a caution when he was 18 in 1997 for having sex with an underage girl.

Robert Mochrie, defending, said: “It will be a stark choice – immediate custody or suspended prison sentence.

“Mr Hallett is fully aware of the two potential outcomes in this case. I would ask for a pre-sentence report.

“He will have to sign the sex offenders’ register as a consequence of the pleas entered.”

He added Hallett had been suspended from his job as a result of the court case.

Hallett could face a sentence between 26 weeks and two years’ imprisonment, with a starting point of one year, for the offences, the court was told.

The judge added: “I make no comment about the type of sentence or likely outcome because I won’t be the tribunal sentencing you.

“But I make it crystal clear that immediate custody is a real option in this case and it’s something that the sentencing judge will no doubt consider.

“I’m going to adjourn the matter so that a pre-sentence report can be compiled about you.

“The report should consider all options but be realistic in its assessment in terms of the likely outcome.

“It does seem to me that on the guidelines a form of custodial sentence, however that manifests itself, is almost inevitable, but that is a matter for the sentencing judge.”

Hallett was bailed until sentencing on March 12.