September 2016

Ex-primary teacher caught with vile child sexual abuse images stash is spared jail

A former primary school teacher caught with sick child sexual abuse images was spared jail.

Colin Watts, 37, said he downloaded the images, some of which depicted child rape, because he enjoyed the “taboo” surrounding them.

Watts, of Gordon Drive in Dovecot , now runs a business called Minerva Education Ltd, based at an address in Gordon Drive, which offers tutors to schools for children aged 7-11 – although Liverpool Crown Courtheard he has no direct contact with children himself.

He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to downloading 48 images of children.

The court heard the images were classed as a mix of Category A – the most serious category according to sentencing guidelines – and Category B.

Ian Criddle, prosecuting, told the court: “Simply put the images were recovered as a result of the defendant making specific searches with words likely to produce those images, including PTHC (pre-teen hardcore).”

The court heard Watts, who had no previous convictions, admitted the offences in his police interview.

Mr Criddle said: “He stated that he was no sexual interest in children. He had been looking at adult pornography, and it was simply the taboo rather sexual interest in children.”

Judge Norman Wright, passing sentence, said he accepted there was no evidence Watts had ever sexually abused children “in the flesh”.

He accused Watts of “feeding the market” for child abuse images, but said he believed suspending the prison sentence would allow the Probation Service to help the defendant to stay out of trouble.

Watts’ parents, watching from the public gallery, sobbed as their son was spared jail.

Judge Wright ordered Watts to sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

He also made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, severely restricting Watts’ access to the internet and preventing him from unsupervised access to children.