A Stroud tyre company worker downloaded some of the ‘most appalling’ indecent images of children a judge had ever seen.
Jonathon Neate, 37, of Bath Road, Nailsworth, admitted three offences of making more than 400 indecent images of children, some of them babies, between June 2019 and May 2020.
At Gloucester Crown Court today (Friday), prosecutor Ian Fenny said the worst of the ‘disturbing’ images showed penetrative sexual activity.
Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: “The images are appalling. Some of this material is the worst I have seen, or at least read about.”
The judge told Neate that by looking at the depraved images he had contributed to the life-shattering suffering and misery of the young victims of the sex crimes depicted in them.
Prosecutor Ian Fenny said police went to Neate’s workplace and seized phones and computers after being alerted to his offending as part of a New Zealand ‘cloud system’ investigation.
Prosecutor Ian Fenny said: “The defendant says he first became aware of this material as a result of chat rooms with others. Search requests were found on his devices and the search terms he used speak for themselves.”
Susan Cavender, defending, said Neate had made no attempt to store any images or to communicate direct with children.
He had since shown a very significant degree of remorse and a willingness and enthusiasm to tackle whatever had led him to commit the offences, she said.
Neate’s new partner had been ‘remarkably supportive’ of him and had acted as supervisor when he had access to his son, she stated.
“Indeed the whole family have been very supportive of him, his parents included.
“He is willing to do anything which the court and the probation service want to enable him never to offend again. The court can feel confident he will never appear again for this or any other type of offending.”
The judge asked “What was the prompt for a family man of this kind to start looking at these appalling images?”
Ms Cavender said: “He says it was a form of risk taking which got out of control. I don’t think he can explain it any better than that. He feels simply awful about what he was doing. And he feels terrible about what he has put his family through.”
Judge Lawrie sentenced Neate to 16 months jail suspended for two years and ordered him to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 costs and a £140 surcharge.
He further ordered Neate to take part in forty sessions of an accredited sex offender programme and 30 days of rehabilitation activities.
Neate was placed on the sex offender register for five years and a ten year sexual harm prevention order was also imposed on him. He was told to attend court on September 10 for a judicial review of his progress on the order.