Tidenham man gets suspended sentence for downloading child abuse images

By Liam Ryder   |   Sports Reporter   |
Wednesday 7th November 2018 10:27 am
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Martin Smith downloaded child abuse images and has been handed a suspended jail sentence by a judge ()

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A 45-year-old Tidenham factory worker downloaded images of child abuse after he claimed to have found them while searching for a Scandinavian Death Metal group, a Gloucester judge heard.

Martin Smith, of Days House Cottages, Tidenham, admitted three offences of making indecent images between October 18, 2017 and January 18 this year.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC, sitting at Gloucester Crown Court, sentenced him to a 12 months jail term suspended for two years.

The judge had been told there were 13 of the most serious ‘category A’ images including two hours and 54 minutes of moving images.

Prosecutor, Janine Wood, said police obtained a search warrant for Smith’s home address after information was received about ‘peer to peer sharing’.

Police seized a laptop and it was found to contain category A, B and C images of child abuse.

They included images of children as young as eight being subjected to serious abuse.

In interview, Smith told the police that others would ask him to search for music and programmes, which he would download and burn to a recordable disc, the prosecution said.

Smith told officers that one search led him to the acronym PTHC, when he was looking for a Death Metal band.

He told police that he did not know why he downloaded them, and claimed not to gain any gratification.

Mrs Wood said that Smith had previous convictions, but they were ‘some time ago, and very different, so not really relevant’.

Karl Williams, representing Smith, said his client entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

“It is the case that there wasn’t any distribution, and he was not amassing large amounts of indecent material,” he said.

“There was a degree of self guilt,” Mr Williams said. “He would dismiss it from recording mechanism of his computer.

“There is a degree of remorse in analysing his situation.

Mr Williams added: “He has demonstrated and taken steps to confront the offending, by way of getting information from the Lucy Faithfull trust.

“He now has a realisation of the damage that it does to those that are young is of a very severe nature.

“It is the case that he has gone on to be very frank about the usage of pornographic material.”

Judge Lawrie said he had read prosecution paperwork that set out in ‘distressingly graphic terms what those images contained’.

He said: “By viewing you contribute to the appalling trade, and a great deal of misery to the victims in these images.

“The youth of a victim is a factor. One was eight,” he continued. “The sentence will strike a balance between the gravity of what you have done and the mitigation in your favour.”

As part of the suspended sentence Smith was ordered to attend thirty rehabilitation sessions and complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £350 in court costs and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years and ordered to sign the sex offender register for seven years.

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