A woman has vowed to stand by her ex-partner despite seeing him jailed for two years for a shocking catalogue of child pornography offences.
Rest home worker Jenny told the Daily Echo how she still loved 48-year-old Neil Hiley, despite the “fetish” for young girls which drove him to download thousands of indecent images of children on their home computer.
Friday the 13th of June 2008 is a day Jenny is unlikely to forget.
Almost two years have passed but memories of police officers arriving at her door and seizing her partner’s computer equipment are unlikely to fade.
“It was a nightmare – definitely the worst day of my life,” the mum-of-three confesses. “It was 6.45am and I had to ask the police for permission to get dressed. They were lovely to us and I’d absolutely no idea what was going on.
“Neil and I had been together for six years and I never, ever thought he was into child pornography.
“People may think I’m naïve but I didn’t suspect what Neil was up to on his computer. He was studying for an Open University law degree so it didn’t occur to me that he had developed this addiction. It was a terrible shock.”
An addiction it was. Bournemouth Crown Court heard how more than 6,000 indecent images of children had been found by specialist police officers on Hiley’s computer.
Prosecutor Jason Spelman said Hiley, 48, from Christchurch Road, Boscombe, had later admitted having “a fetish for females from the age of seven”.
He pleaded guilty to 26 offences of making indecent photographs of children.
After confessing to police officers and his parents, who were also in court, Hiley had finally sought help to quell his “fixation” with indecent images of young girls.
Sentencing Hiley, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC told him: “People who download such images cause the makers to continue their filthy trade.
“In excess of 100 images involved sadistic sexual violence depicting girls aged eight, nine, 10 or 11. You have described your problem as a fetish. When it comes to light society, through a court, has to show its abhorrence.
“Now that your fetish is out in the open you can no longer retreat to your computer and think that what you are doing is a private matter. You will, in future, be a marked man.”
Hiley will have to sign on the sex offenders’ register and will not be permitted to be in the company of a child under 18, unless another adult is present.
After he was led away his former partner said: “I still love Neil and will stand by him; I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe we will get back together again one day.
“The main thing is that he gets help for his addiction and drink problem. My children are grown-up but I have young grandchildren; little girls who have visited us. I’ve never felt they were at any risk. If I had he would have been shown the door.
“I really believe this was a cry for help and Neil wanted to get caught. I don’t know how to turn on a computer but he is a very clever man who could have hidden his tracks.
“I’d hoped he would get a suspended sentence so he could receive treatment. I’m not making excuses for him but I genuinely believe he can’t help himself. Despite viewing these awful images I don’t think he is a danger to children because it’s all a fantasy. It’s his tormented little brain – real life doesn’t come into it.”
We have not used Jenny’s surname to protect her identity.