April 2018

Judge slams two-year delay in case of Exmouth man found with child abuse images on his computer

A judge has questioned why it has taken more than two years to prosecute a charity volunteer who was found with child abuse images on his computer.

Nicholas Davies was first arrested on March 21, 2016, when police searched his home in Exmouth and seized two desktop computers and two laptops.

They were not sent for analysis for six months and there was then a further delay of a year and five months before he was re-interviewed.

Kitchen porter Davies, who also helps sort donations at a charity shop, admitted downloading 73 images when confronted with a report from police experts.

The case was then fast-tracked through the court system with him pleading guilty at Exeter Crown Court last week and being sentenced this week.

Judge Timothy Rose criticised the delays in the case, which he described as ‘extraordinary’, even in the light of the high workload faced by the police’s high-tech crime unit.

Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said he did not have any information about why there had been such a gap between the search and Davies’s second interview in February.

Davies, aged 51, of Alexandra Terrace, Exmouth, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 60 hours unpaid community work and 30 days of rehabilitation activities.

He was put on the sex offenders register for seven years and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same period. The order enables police to monitor his internet use.

Judge Rose told Davies his downloading of images indirectly helped to perpetrate the serious abuse of children depicted in the pictures.

He said: “You have personal responsibility for fuelling the industry that is creating these appalling images and examples of child abuse.”

Mr Richings said a total of 21 pieces of equipment were seized in the search on March 21, 2016, and the four main computers were ‘triaged’ by an officer before being sent for specialist analysis in September 2016.

This revealed the images, five of which were in the worst category.

He said paedophile literature was found along with search terms indicating a sexual interest in children.