November 2018

Paedophile spared jail despite being found with hundreds of child sex abuse images

A paedophile has been spared prison despite being found with hundreds of child sex abuse images.

Matthew Friedrich, 28, appeared at Basildon Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting possessing more than 200 explicit images of children.

This included five of the most serious category, 37 images of category B and 205 images graded as category C across three different devices.

Police executed a warrant at his home in Central Avenue, Benfleet, in November last year after informing Friedrich they had reason to search the property.

Officers recovered the three computers and found a stash of images of both boys and girls from as young as six, but predominantly in their teens.

Prosecutor Charlotte Davison said: “He had sought to view these images as there were search terms found including 12-year-olds, 11-year-olds, ten-year-olds and bondage young girls.

“Search terms were being used right up until two days before the warrant was executed.

“He was interviewed in June of this year and explained he had a poor social life and suffered from bouts of depression, so sought interaction in online chat rooms.”

The court heard he came across the images and became “curious about the children in them”.

“He admitted to seeing all grades and says he reported the most severe ones to police, saying they were disgusting.

“He told officers he was disgusted with himself and requested information about available support.”

The court heard he had since been receiving counselling from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Sentencing him, judge Ian Graham said: “These offences are taken so seriously because these are real children in those images.

“They are not made up and they have been subjected to sexual abuse for these images to be produced.

“That’s why the law takes it so seriously.”

Friedrich was handed a two-year community order which requires him to complete an internet sex offenders rehabilitation programme with the probation service.

He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and has been made subject of a sexual harm prevention order which restricts his use of computers.

The court also ordered him to pay £360 in costs plus a victim surcharge.