September 2018

Trucker downloaded ‘disgusting’ images

A lorry driver from Newton Abbot who downloaded ’disgusting’ images of child abuse has been sent on a sex education course.

Mark Atkins was traced by police to his home by the IP address on his computer and found with a total of 299 images, of which 113 showed very serious abuse of children as young as six.

He was spared an immediate jail sentence at Exeter Crown Court after a judge heard how he was so shocked by his own behaviour that he enrolled voluntarily on a ‘Stop it Now’ course.

Atkins, aged 35, of Meadow Rise, Newton Abbot, admitted three counts of making indecent images and two of possessing extreme or prohibited images.

He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years and ordered to undertake a sex offenders course with the probation service as part of 30 days’ rehabilitation activities.

He was also put on the sex offenders register and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order by Judge Paul Cook at Exeter Crown Court. The order gives police the right to monitor his use of the internet.

The judge told him: ‘You have engaged with the Stop it Now programme of your own volition in an effort to turn things around and you now appreciate the disgusting nature of these activities.’

Mr James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said police received information that material was being downloaded and raided Atkins’ home in October 2016.

They seized three computer devices and he admitted he had used them to look at child abuse images. He said he had started by watching adult pornography and been drawn to look for more extreme material.

He described his online behaviour as crazy and daring and was also found with other offensive images, including one of a human having sex with a donkey.

All the material had been deleted but was recovered by police experts. They found 299 images, of which 113 were in Category A and showed children as young as six having sex with adults.

Mr Jeffrey Segan, defending, said Atkins it is almost two years since Atkins arrest and he has used the time to address his behaviour.

He is currently suspended from his job as a lorry driver and receiving treatment for depression but hopes to return to work once this case is settled.

A probation report said his participation on the Stop it Now course had enabled him to gain insight into the darker side of his nature and address issues arising out of his childhood.