May 2019

58-year-old shared child abuse images

A horseracing employee collected child pornography then shared the images with other paedophiles.

A judge expressed concern that Steven Patrick Kelly, of Francomes Field, Lambourn, might even have been encouraging the abuse of one particular child to order.

The 58-year-old appeared for sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday, April 23, having pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Some of them were of Category A, depicting the most extreme kind of sexual child abuse and all the offences were committed in Lambourn between October 21, 2016, and May 20, 2017.

Charles Royle, prosecuting, said police raided Kelly’s home and seized two phones containing the images. The court heard that, while he accepted he had downloaded the images, he continued to deny any sexual interest in children.

But Judge Emma Nott said: “It’s clear from some of the text messages that he… has been asking for more photographs from someone who, the inference is, is making the images by getting someone to pose. Has he given you any  names?”

Mr Royle replied: “No.”

Judge Nott added: “Therefore that person has not been identified as part of a wider operation, so there’s no true remorse.”

Nick Cotter, defending, handed in character references from Kelly’s wife, father and sister-in-law plus a letter from his employer, Lambourn racehorse trainer Brendan Powell.

He said Kelly had been handed an eviction letter from his landlords after an earlier court hearing was publicised and added: “He is now out of work. His employer, Mr Powell, is moving to Ireland where he will continue in the horseracing industry.”

Mr Cotter went on: “These are serious offences and all I can really say is that, in all my dealings with him, he has been frank and straightforward.”

This was challenged by Judge Nott who interjected: “I’m not entirely sure he has been overly frank, considering his denial of a sexual interest in children.

“The messages clearly show he has a sexual interest in children.”

Mr Cotter conceded the point and said: “It’s up to Mr Kelly to face up to the reality of the situation he’s put himself in – he sought the images, he obtained and distributed them.”

He said Kelly’s wife of 31 years stood by him and pleaded with the judge to spare his client from immediate imprisonment.

Judge Nott told Kelly he had obtained and distributed images depicting “the most serious sexual exploitation of children” and added: “They were subject to the vilest exploitation, which people like you are responsible for.”

She then read out graphic messages Kelly had sent to other paedophiles and told him: “There are worrying aspects to these messages.

“You expressed a desire to move towards contact offences – you were testing the water and the person sending the images appears to perhaps be the one taking those images.

“You said ‘how do you get a girl so young to…?’ and said you’d like to be the one doing it.”

Judge Nott said the shame from any publicity would help to protect the community in future “because those around you now know what you’ve been up to.”

She sentenced Kelly to two years in jail, but suspended that for 18 months.

In addition, she ordered him to pay £500 costs, plus a £115 statutory victim services surcharge.

Finally, Judge Nott made Kelly subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.