May 2017

Child abuse pictures on student’s computer

A student engineer from Oldham was found to have vile child abuse pictures on his computer equipment when police raided his home, a court was told.

Thirteen of the images were in the worst category A bracket, showing children as young as four years old, and two videos – one more than an hour long – were also discovered on William Hastings’ desktop system.

Justin Hayhoe prosecuting, said when the equipment was examined, software was discovered which would have allowed the user to share material on the internet, though there was no evidence the 25-year old had done so.

He had also installed software aimed at hiding the identity of the computer user when carrying out searches of the net for child porn material.

Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court was told that Hastings, of Great Meadows, High Crompton, used search engines to look for pictures of both young girls and boys engaged in various kinds of sexual activity.

Sentencing him, Judge Bernadette Baxter told him: “You were in a relationship, making your way in the world, why on Earth did you get involved in this?

“You clearly had an interest in pictures of children, and you had fairly sophisticated software. 

“A great deal of thought went into what you did.

“You are going to have to grapple with the demons that led you to this depraved behaviour.”

Judge Baxter said she felt just about able to suspend for two years, the ten-month sentence she was imposing. 

She said she took account of the fact that he had ‘had the wit’ to plead guilty immediately, and the fact that he had never been in trouble before.

Hastings will also have to take part in a sexual offenders treatment programme, and be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.