April 2019

Pub landlord had ‘graphic’ images of sex abuse of children as young as six

A pub landlord has been sent on a sex offenders’ course after police found more than 1,000 ‘depraved’ child abuse images on his computer.

James Pidgeon was traced through his use of the internet and police seized an Apple Mac tower system when they raided his home near Brixham.

Experts found over 700,000 images on the device but only examined a tiny fraction of them to provide evidence that he had been downloading illegal images.

Police analysed a total of 1,139 indecent images and found some in the worst category, effectively showing child rape

The worst images showed an adult having penetrative sex with a child of about six and were described as shocking, graphic and depraved by a judge at Exeter Crown Court.

Pidgeon, aged 53, of Stoke Gabriel Road, Galmpton, who is licensee of the Weary Ploughman at Churston Ferrers, near Brixham, admitted three counts of making indecent images.

He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered to attend the Horizon sex offenders’ programme by Judge Timothy Rose.

He was put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order which enables the police to monitor his internet use for the next ten years. He was ordered to pay £480 costs.

The judge told him: “Some of these images showed the most shocking, graphic and depraved abuse of children taking part in sexual activity with adults.

“Without consumers who access this material, most of it would not exist and a great deal of child abuse would not happen.”

Mr Brian Fitzherbert, prosecuting, said police searched Pidgeon’s home address on April 3 last year and seized an Apple Mac tower device which was sent for examination.

He said: “Just over 1,000 indecent images of children were found. Once the police reached 1,000, they stopped the examination. Over 700,000 images were not examined or categorised.”

Mr Fitzherbert said Pidgeon has a personal licence and runs a public house but this conviction is not among the offences which would allow for an application to revoke it.

He has a previous conviction for an indecent images offence dating back to 1998 for which he was jailed for four weeks.