May 2014

Predatory paedophile conditionally discharged for abuse images on laptop

A predatory paedophile who was caught with extreme pornography on his computer while on parole from prison has been conditionally discharged.

Simon Burrows, 51, was jailed indefinitely in 2008 for a catalogue of sex crimes against young children at a Steeple Ashton nursery he set up with his wife.

But a year after his 2011 release he was found to have two vile images stored on his computer when a probation officer examined the machine.

Burrows had been due to stand trial accused of possessing indecent images of children, but that case was dropped.

Burrows insisted he never put them there and said they could not have been deleted by the police when they had the machine, a claim which prosecutors do not accept.

Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court yesterday the records from 2007, which show what had been handed back, had been destroyed.

“We are not in a position to say whether in fact anything was handed back to him, and contained illicit material, and was not supposed to,” she said.

Miss Marlow asked for the hard drive of the machine to be destroyed to avoid the same issue arising again.

And after Derek Perry, defending, asked for it to be returned Judge Field said he could have it if probation agreed and the police had properly cleaned it.

The court heard that following his release from prison Burrows was handed his old laptop back.

When a device fitted to monitor his use of the machine did not work properly it was looked at by his offender manager, who found the illicit material.

He was returned to prison in September 2012 for breaching the conditions of his parole as he had been contacting a woman online and exchanging pictures with her.

Mr Perry said his client would now have to seek release again. He said it was always their case that the police had not properly cleaned the images from the computer.

In May 2008, Judge Douglas Field jailed him indefinitely for public protection with a four-year tariff, or minimum term before which he could apply for parole, but that was reduced to three by appeal court judges.

Burrows had admitted 36 charges of sexual offences against children, including touching, taking pictures and videos and voyeurism.

He abused some of the 12 young victims, boys and girls aged between two and nine years old, at the nursery and others when he was giving them lifts in his car.

Police found he had set up a camera to film teenage foreign exchange students staying with them as they went to the toilet.

And on his computer he had 3,626 indecent images and 180 videos of children, many of which were in the most serious categories.

A forensic expert who examined the machines and storage media described the horde as some of the worst images he had seen in his ten years in the job.

May 2012

Restrictions on shamed nursery pervert removed

A nursery manager who abused the pre-school age children in his care has persuaded a judge to remove a Sexual Offence Prevention Order imposed on him now he has been set free.

Simon Burrows’ offences shocked the community near Trowbridge after he was found guilty of a string of offences and jailed in May 2008.

The 48-year-old from Hilperton, Wiltshire, helped his now ex-wife run a nursery school and after-school club in nearby Steeple Ashton. He was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to abusing some of the children who attended, and of possessing child pornography so bad, one hardened police investigator said it was the worst collection he’d ever seen.

He pleaded guilty to a total of 36 charges of sex offences against children. When police were alerted by the parents of one of the victims, they raided his house and found that not only did he have files on his computer containing more than 3,600 indecent images of children and 180 videos, but that he’d also rigged up secret cameras to film the bathroom where exchange students stayed.

More victims’ families came forward and it became apparent that Burrows had molested some of the children while giving them lifts home from the nursery and the after-school club. He was given a life sentence, with the recommendation that he serve four years before being eligible for parole.

First, Burrows appealed against the severity of his sentence and had his parole term reduced from four years to three-and-a-half years. Now free from jail, Burrows has successfully appealed to the same judge, Douglas Field, to recommend removing a Sexual Offence Prevention Order he originally imposed.

His lawyer argued as Burrows was already the subject of a life licence since his release from prison, a specific prevention order was not needed. The licence imposes restrictions on Burrows using the internet, or have contact with his children, without the consent of probation officers who will supervise him for the rest of his life.

Judge Field said since the sex offenders’ order imposed similar restrictions, there was no need for both, but the CPS says the specific order was tougher. The CPS said breaching the sex offenders’ order was a criminal offence and could mean Burrows is instantly arrested, whereas the life licence conditions meant it would take longer to bring him to account if he breaches the terms of his licence.