JANUARY 2008

Sex offender spared jail

A 53-year-old bachelor has avoided a prison sentence after child pornography was found on his computer.

Former NHS worker Martin Stone admitted downloading sexual images of children, which were discovered by a computer repair shop worker.

At Hendon Magistrates Court on Thursday, he was sentenced to a supervision order and three years on a community sexual offenders’ programme.

He will remain on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

A court order prevents the media from publishing any details about where Stone lives.

Magistrate Howard Grant said Stone “did not fall into the category of dangerous” and that he was “a man of good character”.

The court heard how Stone had taken his computer to a repair shop in East Barnet, where staff found several files containing child porn. They contacted police, who arrested Stone when he arranged to pick it up last June.

Stone admitted it was his computer but claimed it was only “adult stuff” on the system.

However, in December he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.

The court heard he had been the only owner of the computer from new, and investigations had found internet searches on the words “kiddie porn” and “child porn”.

Sixteen images were downloaded, three including children aged between 12 and 15.

The downloads depicted levels three and four abuse, on a scale of one to five, with five being the worst. They included two short video clips and a picture of a child performing a sexual act.

Stone’s defence lawyer said the images had been downloaded more than a year ago and that he had deleted them “after feeling quite disgusted at what he had done”.

“He had not shown the images to anyone and they were only for his gratification,” he added.

The court also heard how, following Stone’s arrest, he had been sacked from his job as a hospital porter trainer.

His defence claimed he was a “gentle individual” and that a prison sentence would leave him like “a fish out of water”.

DC Adam Brown, who led the investigation, said: “This case would not have come about without the vigilance of the public, and thanks to them he has now been sentenced to the community programme and his name put on the sex offenders’ register.

“He can be monitored and hopefully he no longer poses a threat to children.”