September 2007

Solicitor on porn charges walks free

A SOLICITOR who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children from the internet has walked free from court.

Brian Rangeley hunted for and stored the sickening pictures a few months before he got married.

But the 49-year-old is now finished as a lawyer, has been left by his wife and turned to drink to cope with his depression.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that Rangeley’s offending came to light in September last year when he was arrested for another matter.

Although that matter was not proceeded with police examined his computer and uncovered the illicit pictures.

Mr Meeke said that a total of 705 images were found and while the bulk were in the less serious categories, almost 100 were of the most vile kind.

When he was questioned he at first told police that he had no interest in children though was a naturist and sometimes saw them naked.

However, after his computer was examined he accepted that for a relatively short period in 2002 he had downloaded indecent images of children from the internet.

Mr Meeke said that it was also found that he had used the words paedophile’ and Lolita’ in search engines.

He said Rangeley accepted that he had downloaded the pictures so he could look at them again later. “He accepted that what he had been doing was unacceptable,” Mr Meeke told the court

Rangeley, of Tydeman Street, Gorse Hill, pleaded guilty to seven counts of making indecent images of children and one of possession between February 3 and May 8, 2002.

Philip King, defending, said that his client had lost everything as a result of the conviction.

Rangeley had been a solicitor since 1985, working in a practice in London before setting up on his own.

He married towards the end of 2002, after the offending, and moved his business to Swindon.

Mr King said that he now faced being struck off as a solicitor and had been left by his wife as a result of the crimes.

Rangeley started to look at the images out of curiosity, he said, but soon realised what he was doing was wrong and stopped.

He told the court his client clearly had an interest in what he saw but added: “Very soon that interest turned to disgust.”

Since his arrested he said his client had suffered what he thought was a form of nervous breakdown, rarely going out, having panic attacks and drinking up to a litre of whisky a day.

Passing sentence Recorder Neil Ford QC said: “You are now a man who has lost his means of making a living.

“You have descended into maybe not clinical depression but depression in the normal sense of the word.”

He passed a six-month jail term but suspended it for two years and ordered that he be placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.