January 2019

Gloucester man approached police officers in early hours to admit he was a paedophile

A 30-year-old Gloucester man approached police officers in the early hours of Christmas Eve to tell them he was a paedophile and had been downloading vile images of child abuse, a city judge heard yesterday.

Michael Thomas, of Regent Street, pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of a prohibited image.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said it was “unique” for a man not under investigation to report himself to the police in such a way.

Prosecutor David Scutt said Thomas handed over a red iPod to the officers and gave them the pin code.

They then saw images of a girl aged between 13 or 14 undressing.

Thomas was arrested and then told officers he had further images on his laptop at home.

The iPod and his computer were forensically examined and found to contain ‘relatively low’ numbers of indecent and prohibited images, said Mr Scutt.

There were 10 images of category A child abuse, the most serious under sentencing guidelines, and the PC contained 22 images and 74 videos of that category.

There were other images of category B and C along with prohibited images, Mr Scutt said.

The prosecutor said: “There is no evidence of chat rooms or distribution.”

Thomas was said to be ‘full and completely frank’ in a police interview.

“He approached the police as he wanted to stop looking at the images,” Mr Scutt said, confirming that Thomas had no previous convictions recorded against him.

Judge Lawrie described Thomas’ candid behaviour as a ‘novelty’.

“This is the first time I have ever heard of it,” he said.

Judge Lawrie referred to Thomas’ ‘isolation’.

“Sitting in a small property in front of a computer,” the judge said. “One can see how these offences arise. That does not excuse it.”

Thomas himself told the judge: “Something snapped inside my head.”

Imposing an eight-month jail term suspended for two years, the judge said: “The reality is because of a variety of features, the offences do cross the custody threshold, but there is a welter that justifies a suspended sentence.

“You’ve pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity.

“You chose to speak to some passing police constables, and told them what you had been doing.

“That is indeed unusual.”

Thomas was ordered to attend a sex offender treatment programme.

The judge warned him: “If you breach you will go to prison.

“Continue to seek and accept the support offered. I hope to never see you again.”

Thomas is required to sign the sex offender register for seven years and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for the same duration.