October 2018

Bath man downloaded images of girls younger than 11

A Bath man faces jail after he downloaded images and videos of girls younger than 11.

Michael Gareth Wood, 60, admitted three counts of making indecent photos of children at Bath Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (October 17).

The court heard the “impulse was too strong” and that he would masturbate before deleting the illegal material.

Prosecuting, Jane Cooper said Wood was linked to an IP address which was distributing indecent images of children.

In September 2017, police executed a warrant at his home in Coxley Drive, Larkhall, and seized several items including two computer towers and a laptop

The devices were sent for investigation to the Avon and Somerset police High Tech Crime Unit, when indecent material was found, including:

  • One category A (penetrative sexual activity) indecent image of a child and four movies

  • Two category B (non-penetrative sexual activity) images and a movie

  • 38 category C (indecent images of lesser seriousness) images and a movie

The court heard Wood used a peer-to-peer (P2P) network to share and gain the files. Searches he made included “pre-teen model” and “pre-teen model Philippines”.

He was interviewed on April 17 at Keynsham police centre without legal representation.

Recalling the interview, Ms Cooper said Wood admitted downloading the movies to officers.

She said: “He knew it was wrong but sometimes the impulse was too strong and he couldn’t stop himself.

“He had been doing it since 2006.”

Ms Cooper said some of the girls in the images and films were aged 11 or under.

She added: “He would masturbate when viewing the material and afterwards would delete files and the file sharing programme.

“It was just a build up. The thoughts would come and he would access the material, mainly during the night and always when he was alone.”

She told the court that Wood married aged 29 and the couple, who were Jevovah’s Witnesses, remained together for 10 years.

Wood had no previous convictions, the court heard.

Magistrates asked the probation service to conduct an interview with him before passing sentence.

The hearing was adjourned until November 7 at Bath Magistrates’ Court.

Wood was released on unconditional bail.

“Custody is the most likely option of the sentencing,” magistrates said.