June 2011

Jailed Weymouth paedophile claims child abuse images were ‘artistic’

A PAEDOPHILE jailed for possessing child porn claimed the images found on his computer were ‘artistic’, a court was told.

Ian Whittaker, formerly of The Esplanade, Weymouth, was sentenced to a total of 16 months in prison after admitting 12 offences of possessing indecent images of children and three charges of making indecent photos of a child.

The sentence came less than two years after he was handed a suspended sentence for the possession of more than 100 indecent images.

The latest charges related to a total of 562 grade one images – the least serious type of indecent images – as well as one of the most serious grade five, one at level two and one grade three image. Carolyn Branford-Wood, prosecuting, told Dorchester Crown Court that Whittaker’s latest offending came to light when police visited his home on October 7 last year as part of a procedural visit under the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order attached to his previous sentence.

She said indecent images were seen on the defendant’s computer, so it was taken away to be examined by the hi-tech crime unit while Whittaker, 50, was interviewed by police.

Miss Branford-Wood said: “He said that he was aware that there were some artistic photos, as he described them, on his computer.”

She added: “He said he was aware it was illegal to possess indecent images of children but stated he had his own interpretation of what was legal.”

Miss Branford-Wood said that following the examination of his computer Whittaker fully admitted downloading the indecent images outlined in the charges.

She said the investigation also showed the defendant had taken steps to cover-up his actions by deleting the images and altering his computer settings so he appeared to be accessing the internet from Venezuela.

Miss Branford Wood said that in August 2009 Whittaker was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for 20 counts of making indecent photos of children.

On that occasion the images were discovered on his computer after he was spotted searching for child pornography at a training centre for the unemployed.

Tim Shorter, mitigating, said the latest offences had resulted in ‘naivety’ on the part of the defendant.

He said: “He knew perfectly well the officer was coming round and his initial reaction was there was nothing on the computer which shouldn’t have been on there.”

Mr Shorter added: “What the defendant was doing was downloading images of young girls in such a way that he hoped they wouldn’t cross the line. He accepts having been showing them during the interview that they did cross the line.”

Judge Roger Jarvis activated the original eight month prison sentence that formed part of Whittaker’s suspended sentence and also ordered the defendant serve a further eight months for the latest offences.