A Cam man who has been convicted for the second time of downloading indecent images of children will spend the next 10 months behind bars.
At Gloucester Crown Court yesterday Matthew Gardner, 31, of Manor Avenue, Cam, pleaded guilty to downloading indecent images in all three categories of seriousness – A, B and C – and breaching the terms of a sexual harm prevention order by downloading the images and deleting 24 messages between February 27, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
Prosecutor Ramin Pakrooh explained that Gardner had previously received an eight-month suspended prison sentence on March 17, 2017 for similar offences and was made subject to a five year sexual harm prevention order.
Mr Pakrooh said: “As part of this order, Gardner was subject to regular home visits and spot checks to see if he was complying with the conditions. In December 2019 his phone was examined and the officer noticed a lack of browsing history.
“Gardner denied deleting any of the browsing history over his internet use. However one file name triggered alarms bells for the officer.
“The phone was seized and examined by experts who discovered that on November 19, 2019 Gardner had downloaded four indecent images of a child in category A, the most severe, along with two images of category B and 39 images in category C, along with three lengthy videos of over 34 minutes in length.”
The experts also discovered that between February 27 and December 31, 2019 Gardner had deleted 24 messages, contravening the terms of the court order. It is not known what the content of these messages were and if they contained links.
“It is believed that most of the messages came from family members,” said the prosecutor. “And this demonstrates the importance of keeping the internet browsing history.”
Matthew Harbinson, defending, said: “Gardner admits the breach on November 19, 2019 as this was an exceptionally low time for him.
“Gardner was working away in Cornwall when he saw on social media that his work colleagues had become aware of his antecedents. This sent him on a downward spiral of drinking to excess, taking drugs and smoking cannabis.
“He was in such a low place that he turned to the internet. His offending took place on one single day in November 2019.”
Judge Timothy Rose interjected: “But this is the second occasion in which he has downloaded indecent images.
Mr Harbinson added: “Gardiner has already been named and shamed for his previous offending when his thoughts turned to suicide, but his family stepped in and helped him through this emotional period.
“He is crying out for help with these issues in the community. His offending is of a similar nature and he has had this sentence hearing looming over him for the past year.
Judge Rose said to Gardner: “When you were sentenced in 2017 you were subject to the terms of a court order which limited your use of the internet.
“It is quite clear that you also prioritised work over your suspended sentence requirements by which your programme of intervention was not completed.
“Two years later you reoffended, for which I cannot accept any excuse. You viewed and downloaded indecent images and deleted a number of messages, against the terms of the court order.
“I’m quite satisfied that most of your offending took place on one day in November 2019, but you must hold some personal responsibility, along with thousands of others, in viewing and promoting this type of material.
“I’m not entirely convinced by your previous history that you will abide by any suspended sentence order that it can be justified and therefore I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial term.”
The judge sentenced Gardner to 10 months in prison, subjected him to the terms of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and to sign the sex offenders register for the same time period. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140.