June 2018

Carer who worked with ‘vulnerable and damaged’ youngsters caught with child sex abuse images

A children’s carer who distributed indecent images of children as young as three “lied to himself” about his behaviour.

Liam Brown, 38, was found with almost 1,500 images of young children, including Category A videos, on electronic devices seized from his home in Bridgend.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday was told police received information about a Dropbox account under the name “Care Bear Brown” which had uploaded 22 indecent images.

The account was traced to Brown’s home in Charles Street, which he shared with his mother and stepfather, and officers attended the property on February 6

When officers explained why they were there the defendant said he was responsible for the material. He said: “I know what you’re on about, I should have got rid of them.”

He admitted having an addiction to the images and said: “I’m going to lose my job – it’s my fault.”

Three electronic devices were seized including an iPad, a mobile phone, and a laptop, all of which were found to contain indecent images of children of Category A, B and C.

In total Brown was found to be in possession of 1,442 indecent images.

One of the children appearing in some of the Category A images was described as being as young as three.

An officer in the case described the images as “some of the worst” he had come across.

The police also found evidence that Brown had been distributing the images through Dropbox and various chat rooms by providing links to the images.

He had also been talking to “like-minded individuals” on the Kik messenger app where he had been sharing links to indecent images and directing people to files on iCloud where images had been stored.

He later pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing indecent images of children, three counts of possessing indecent images of children, a count of possessing prohibited images of children, a count of possessing an extreme pornographic image, and possession of a controlled class B drug.

The court heard Brown was previously employed as a carer for teenage children with behavioural problems and was described by defence barrister Andrew Davies as “hardworking” in the role.

The Recorder of Cardiff Judge Eleri Rees asked Mr Davies how the defendant could carry out the offences which were “at odds” with his profession.

The barrister said: “He lied to himself to ignore that fact in the past but he accepts it now. He said he lied to himself about the consequences to these children because of his addiction.

“One often sees in these cases there’s a gradual slide into more and more extreme images which is what happened in the defendant’s case.

“He is remorseful and appreciates the high respect he was held in the community, as demonstrated by the references on his behalf, has been lost.”

Sentencing, Judge Rees dismissed Brown’s claim he was suffering from an addiction as a “way of excusing himself for being unable to control his impulses”.

She added: “You were not content to download for yourself these appalling images, you were distributing and actively encouraging others to do so.

“What is more shocking is the fact your career has been based on working with children who are vulnerable and damaged. One expects you to have had a heightened awareness on the effects of this trade.

“These are real children who have been subjected to sexual abuse and have had their childhood and innocence taken from them as well as the physical suffering involved.”