December 2018

Harrogate pensioner avoids jail after downloading 1,000 images of child abuse

A pensioner renowned for his charitable works has been spared prison after he admitted downloading over 1,000 indecent images of children. 

Andrew Michael Wild, 69, from Pateley Bridge, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday wearing an immaculate dark suit, white shirt and tie.

Wild, who had led a hitherto-blameless life, used a ‘drop-box’ app to download the child-sexual abuse shots, said prosecutor Philip Adams.

Among the vast number of indecent images were 360 Category A shots – the worst kind, involving the serious sexual abuse of children.

He also downloaded 273 Category B images and 420 Category C, as well as three computer-generated child-sexual abuse images.

Some of the indecent images featured children as young as two.

Wild admitted three counts of downloading indecent images and one count of possessing the three prohibited images at a previous hearing. His nefarious online activities took place between July and November last year.

At Friday’s sentence hearing, the court heard that Wild, of Ripon Road, had used a link to access the debauched material. 

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Wild: “You were accessing, on the internet, images of serious abuse of children. Every image that you view shows a child’s life and childhood being taken away from them. Some of them were as young as two.”

Wild was given a 12-month prison sentence, but this was suspended for two years because of the efforts he had made to rehabilitate himself, glowing references from “many people” and his plea of guilty.

He was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order of a similar length, to curb his online activities.