The year ending June 2020 saw a 9% increase in offences involving obscene publications and protected sexual material compared to the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This category of crime includes indecent images of children, though it should be noted that other obscene publications are counted too, such as ‘extreme pornographic images’.
Four men from Stroud appeared in court for seperate crimes involving the possession of indecent images of children last year, including the most serious category of child sexual abuse material – Category A.
The court dates were in August, September and October, 2020.
August 6 – downloading, possessing and distributing
Simon Blake, 53, of the Chase, Cashes Green, Stroud, was placed on the sex offenders register after admitting four charges of downloading indecent images of a child, possessing them and distributing them.
He pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on August 6 to distributing a category A indecent video of a child on January 26, 2020; and between January 25 and April 8 the same year possessed one indecent image of child in category A, one indecent image of child in category B and seven indecent images of a child in category C.
He was released on conditional bail to appear in Gloucester Crown Court on September 3 for sentencing.
August 21 – downloading
Richard Morrison, 43, from the Tynings, Minchinhampton, downloaded indecent images of children, Gloucester crown court heard on August 21, 2020.
His house was raided and a total of 1,754 indecent images were found, said prosecutor Catherine Flint.
Mr Morrison pleaded guilty to making one Category A image, 24 Category B images and 1,730 of Category C between July 19 and September 13, 2019.
The judge sentenced Mr Morrison to a two-year community order that includes undertaking 200 hours of unpaid work, 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years. A sexual harm prevention order that limits his online activity for the same time period of time was also imposed.
The judge ordered Mr Morrison to pay £425 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the computing equipment where the images were stored.
September 9 – two million images
David Jackson, 73, of Woodmancote, Dursley, who had almost two million indecent images of children stored on his computers, received a two-year suspended prison sentence.
He pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to making indecent of photographs of children between November 3, 2009 and May 9, 2018 in all three categories of severity – A, B and C – on six computers found at his home address.
Jackson’s computers contained 587 Category A images; 1,794 Category B images and 1,856,704 Category C images, the court was told.
Above: David Jackson
“Because of Jackson’s underlying health issues I have concluded that sending him to prison is akin to giving him a death sentence, so I have no choice but to impose a suspended sentence,” said Judge Ian Lawrie QC.
“In normal circumstances I would not hesitate in sending you to prison. But I have seen your medical report which shows you have a number of underlying health issues and restricted mobility.”
“You are therefore highly vulnerable and deserve a severe prison sentence but sending you to jail is not an option in case you contract the covid-19 virus.”
October 30 – paedophile hunters
Two women paedophile hunters confronted Andrew Papps, 46, of Forest Green, Nailsworth, after trapping him by pretending to be under-age girls online, Gloucester Crown Court heard on October 30, 2020.
Mr Papps thought he was conversing with 13-14 year old girls on Facebook and WhatsApp and he sent them explicit sexual pictures of himself as well as encouraged one of them to perform a sex act.
But the girls were fictitious and their profiles had been created by two female members of Justice4Kids, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
Mr Papps later downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children onto his computer, the court heard.
Prosecuting, Catherine Flint told the court that 116 images of category A, 161 of category B, and 141 images of category C were found on Mr Papps computer, depicting girls aged between four and 12, with the most being around the age of 10.
Mr Papps pleaded guilty to communicating with the three fictitious girls, believing them to be aged 13 or 14, between March 21 and April 15, 2019 by means of social media platforms.
He also admitted two charges of attempting to engage a 13-year-old in sexual activity between the same dates.
He admitted possessing indecent images of children on his phone on April 14, 2019 and on his computer on July 2, 2020.
He was sentenced to 22 months jail suspended for two years.