August 2018

Pervert downloaded ‘deeply disturbing’ pictures of children from the internet

A former lunchtime assistant at a Worthing primary school spent a year looking at ‘deeply disturbing’ pictures of children on the internet.

Peter Chapman claimed he accidentally viewed an indecent image of a child on social media website Tumblr, but admitted he then went on to search for thousands more.

He was sentenced today after pleading guilty to four charges, including possessing a cartoon of a child being exploited.

Judge Janet Waddicor said: “The harm done by people who watch and download images such as these is incalculable.

Chapman, 57, of Portland Road in Worthing, was given a 16-month suspended jail sentence at Lewes Crown Court this morning.

His crimes came to light in June 2017 when police discovered his email address was linked up to a website dealing in child sexual abuse images, the court heard.

Police said at the time of his offending he was working as a cleaner and lunchtime assistant at Chesswood Junior School in Worthing, but added none of the images found in his possession were of local children and confirmed there were no safeguarding issues in relation to local children.

Prosecutor Charmaine Wilson said in court: “Officers arrived at the defendant’s address and upon speaking to the defendant he confirmed he was the bill payer and stated that he had looked at underage girls around the age of 10.”

Various items of computer equipment were seized by police, and thousands of indecent images of children were found. Officers found 3,593 indecent images of children on them, including six of the most serious type, Category A.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing indecent images of children, as well as a charge of possessing prohibited images of children.

Sentencing Chapman, Judge Waddicor said: “Some of the children were as young as 5-7 years old.

“They were subject to exploitation, humiliation, degradation which no doubt will mark them for the rest of their lives.” She told him that the prohibited images he possessed – which included a cartoon of a child being exploited – were ‘deeply disturbing’.

She said: “You have expressed what I accept is genuine remorse, shame and probably disgust.”

Chapman was given a 16-month jail sentence, suspended for two years and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

He was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge.