February 2019

Newport man with more than 5,000 indecent images of children avoids jail

A man from Newport who made and distributed indecent images of children and attempted to cause or incite children under 16 to engage in sexual activity has avoided jail.

Marc James Watkins, 24, was found to have more than 5,000 indecent still and moving images of children on devices at his home, and further examinations found conversations on a messenger app with boys as young as 13.

Watkins, of Deer Park Drive Newport, previously admitted three charges of making indecent images of children, three charges of distributing indecent images of children, and four counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Prosecutor Ben Lawrence told Shrewsbury Crown Court on Friday, that police executed a warrant at Watkins’ home address on November 9, 2016, which was in relation to his brother.

However while at the property, Watkins asked to speak to a police officer and disclosed to them he had images of children on devices at the home.

On a laptop and a hard drive police found 1,000 category A images, 1,167 category B images and 3,094 category C images.

Mr Lawrence said one image involved a baby, and others involved children being given alcohol before being abused.

Police also discovered that 102 images have been distributed in 17 conversations on the messenger app Kik.

The messenger app was examined and exchanges were found with young boys, some as young as 13.

The four encounters for which he was charged with, included sending indecent images to the boys, asking them to send him sexual pictures.

In one conversation he discussed the possibility of meeting a 13-year-old boy in Liverpool. In another he discussed with a 14-year-old-boy about adopting a male child to abuse.

In a police interview, Watkins admitted looking at indecent images for five to six years, dating back to 2011, but denied having a sexual interest in school children.

Judge Peter Barrie sentenced Watkins to a two year community order, due to exceptional circumstances.

He said: “This is all very serious. What you need to understand is that these images of children appear as a result of that child being abused.”

He said Watkins had been a victim of abuse in the past, and that he showed traits of autism, PTSD and depression.

He will attend 45 days of rehabilitation, pay a £1,000 fine, £200 costs, and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order.