April 2018

Farnham man’s sexual desire for children 

A former electrical engineer from Farnham who downloaded more than 700 sexual images of children said his sexual urges began when he accidentally saw an image pop up on his computer.

Darren Meads, 46, of Upper Weybourne Lane, pleaded guilty to downloading 85 category A images, 121 category B images and 581 category C images of children between February 5, 2012 and June 8, 2016 in Farnham

In sentencing the 46-year-old at Guildford Crown Court on Friday (April 20), Judge Alexia Durran said Meads told probation officers he “became curious” and as he saw more sexual images of children, he became more desensitised.

Meads will be required to register as a sex offender for seven years, but will not be going to jail.

He has been given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Meads’s home address was searched on October 11, 2017 after Surrey Police traced the IP address of an account, username “f**kher”, which had accessed a Chatstep chatroom called “Paedo”, the court heard.

The account had been used to post a link which contained a category C image of a child.

Three laptops were seized, and in them police found hundreds of indecent images of children aged from four to 16.

According to prosecutor Jay Edwards, 266 photos were found on the laptops, and a further 531 were recovered after they were deleted by Meads.

The prosecutor said: “An interrogation of the search history indicated Mr Meads had been actively searching for this type of material.

“He confirmed the computer seized belonged to him. He acknowledged his actions were wrong and apologised for his behaviour and indicated he had sought advice.”

Judge Alexia Durran told Meads: “You pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity so I give you full credit. The time frame for the images, I am concerned with.

“The facts of this case are very similar to many offences that come before me. You were tracked by Surrey Police as a result of police tracking a username ‘f**kher’, the chatroom was called ‘Peado’. So not surprisingly, the police were interested in what you were doing.

“You have told probation service you committed offences for four years because you first saw an image when it popped up by accident.

“You told the probation officer you are not addicted to pornography. You stated you became stressed after paying off a large mortgage and increasingly isolated with yourself and it became a sexual preoccupation, in the view of the officer.

“I have read everything contained in the police report and read documents uploaded on your behalf. A letter from your fiancé describes you as caring and loving because she has suffered from psychiatric difficulties.

“I can see the confirmation you have provided that you have blocked your ability to access adult content.”

She added: “The fact of these offences are you contributed to the exploitation of children in a sexual way”.

Meads will be subjected to a community order, and will be required to undertake 30 days of rehabilitation. He was also ordered to pay £150 for prosecution costs.