December 2018

Cheltenham student avoids jail after sharing vile images of children as young as three

A Cheltenham chemistry student caught distributing images of child abuse has avoided jail.

Danrick Magno, 19, of Whaddon Avenue in Oakley, admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children and four of distribution.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC, sitting at Gloucester Crown Court, heard that amongst the vile images police found on Magno’s laptop and mobile phone, there were 206 category A, the most serious images of child abuse.

Prosecutor James Haskell said police executed a search warrant on March 29 at Magno’s address.

Investigators had become aware that email addresses and Twitter accounts associated with Magno were being used to store and distribute images of children.

Magno initially denied any knowledge of the images but by his second interview he made admissions to the police, Mr Haskell said.

When his laptop and phone were examined, officers found 206 category A images, 111 of category B, and 80 category C.

‘Beyond mere perverse imagery’

“It was clear he was involved via Twitter with communicating with others about the distribution, in part for financial motivation,” Mr Haskell said

“It was clear from discussions he was interested in trading images with others.

“He sent messages such as ‘Do you have Chinese or Japanese kids?’ and ‘I can only give this one for trade’,” the barrister said.

Some images showed boys as young as three years old, the court heard.

Magno told police that he had no sexual interest in children, but by the time of meeting a probation officer for a pre-sentence report he had changed his position, Mr Haskell said.

The prosecutor asked for the laptop and phone to be destroyed, which the judge ordered.

The judge confirmed that Magno had no previous convictions, but said: “This goes beyond mere perverse imagery. Some victims are three.

“The difficulty is the distribution,” the judge said. “Sitting at night watching images is one thing. Distribution is another.”

‘It was always for sexual gratification’

Mark Linehan, representing Magno, said he accepted the starting point for sentence before a discount for an early guilty plea was three years jail.

Addressing the point about financial motivation, the lawyer said: “He could never have made money, it was always for sexual gratification.”

Mr Linehan added “The number of images in this type of case is relatively low.”

He said his client showed remorse and had entered an early guilty plea.

Mr Linehan argued that a third discount for an early guilty plea meant the jail term could be suspended.

The judge agreed and imposed a 20-month jail term suspended for two years.

He also ordered Magno to attend a sex offenders treatment programme.

‘There is a dark corner of your soul’

“If anyone needs to sit in a room and talk about his issues it is him,” the judge said. “He is contributing to the process of appalling sexual abuse.”

The judge said that Magno showed a staggering lack of understanding about what he is viewing, which brings untold misery.”

He told Magno “There is a dark corner of your soul. You are helping to perpetuate misery.

“The young persons in those videos are emotionally, and psychological tortured that you sat and watched and distributed.

“I am concerned at the moment you show a lack of humanity.

“You compound the crime of viewing the material with the crime of distributing them.

“On balance I am persuaded to impose a sentence with the primary motivation of rehabilitation.

“I think you would be vulnerable in prison.

“These are the sort of offences that could make you unemployable. Well, so be it,” the judge said.

Magno was ordered to sign the sex offender register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for seven years.

“You must have a dark corner to look at this disgusting material,” the judge concluded.