November 2010

Man escapes jail over sex pictures find

A businessman who coached youngsters at table tennis, had a sinister secret, a court was told.

Company manager Peter Aspin 54, built up a collection of “revolting” sexual pictures of children at his home in Oldham.

When police officers executed a search warrant after a tip-off, they were shocked to find more than 70 indecent photographs, 11 of them at a bordering-on-extreme Level Four.

They also seized 20 DVDs showing moving pictures of children, 12 of them assessed as being at Level Four.

Aspin escaped a prison sentence when he appeared at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court however, because of a judge’s dilemma.

Judge Jeffrey Lewis told him he saw little point in an immediate prison term because he would receive little or no help for his problem while locked up.

He wanted to impose a suspended sentence to reflect the gravity of the offences, but was unable to do so because he wanted him to take part in a specialist three-year sex offenders programme, and the law restricted a suspended prison term to two years.

“I’m afraid it seems to me, that joined-up thinking is not what we are best at in this area” he said.

Aspin, of Summervale House, Manchester Street, Oldham, has now been made subject of a community order, with a requirement that he attend the Northumbria Sex Offenders Project.

Judge Lewis who viewed some of the images recovered, said: “For many years you must have been highly regarded in the world of table tennis in which you coached youngsters.

“Nobody could be blamed for thinking perhaps they knew the reason why – in order to get close to children.

“The fact remains that during the course of your involvement with the sport, nobody as much as suggested you ever committed any offence with a child.

“That apart, there was clearly another aspect to your life, and you indulged yourself in viewing indecent images of children.”

He told him: “I am long passed being shocked by anything I see, or by anything people do to each other, but having seen some of these images, revulsion is the correct word to use.

“All right thinking people believe that activity of this sort is not for children – certainly not for children of this age.

“There is no suggestion that you took pictures yourself, but you were a consumer who causes others to produce this kind of material.”

Mark Angus prosecuting, had told the court that police had raided both Aspin’s workplace and home in March this year after being tipped off about the picture collection.

Police also recovered travel documents which made it clear that Aspin had planned to make a trip to Thailand just days after he was arrested.

The court was told that he had only one previous conviction, which was for an indecent assault on an under-age child when he was 22. He received a six-month suspended sentence.

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