March 2009

Family man’s child abuse images shame

A man who downloaded and shared child sexual abuse images has been jailed for 16 months.

Nigel Lofthouse was told by the judge “this was truly filthy material involving the degradation of real children in a repeated and nasty fashion. “This was not something which was a minor abberation on your part – it was a major lifestyle choice by you.”

Preston Crown Court heard more than 200 images were recovered after police checked his computer equipment.

Police enquiries showed he had shared images with someone in the Surrey area and an investigation into that person alerted Lancashire Police.

Lofthouse, 44, of Washington Avenue, Bispham, pleaded guilty to 20 charges, including four of distribution and others of making and possessing child abuse images.

Lofthouse’s distribution charges involved some images described as level four – the second most serious category. Those offences had occurred in August and September 2005.

When police arrested Lofthouse in July last year, he said “It’s a fascination. My life is over now.”

Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said 260 still images were discovered. The vast majority were level one, the least serious category but there were others in the higher categories, including level five, the most serious.

Police also recovered 11 moving film clips, one atlevel five. Lofthouse said in a police interview: “I thoroughly regret my actions. I am ashamed of my conduct and deeply regret the effect this will have on my family”.

In passing sentence, Judge Badley also told Lofthouse: “You became drawn in to this low life activity. You became embroiled in this lifestyle. “It must have taken a long time to download this material.”

The judge accepted he was not a danger to children. Lofthouse was told he will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years, will be subject to a sexual offences prevention order and banned from working with children.