March 2014

Derek Williams jailed over abuse images and bestiality videos

Blaenau man found guilty of having 4,500 child abuse images

A paedophile previously spared prison because of overcrowding has been jailed for downloading child abuse images and videos of bestiality.

Derek Williams, 53, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, admitted charges of accessing bestiality and was found guilty on the child abuse images.

The judge at Caernarfon Crown Court said Williams had an obsession.

Williams was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

In 2007 a judge decided to give him a suspended sentence in response to a request by the home secretary for judges to send only the most dangerous and persistent offenders to prison because they were so full.

Williams was instead given a six-month sentence suspended for two years after he had admitted downloading indecent and abusive pictures of children.

The move provoked widespread debate and led to statements by the then Home Secretary John Reid and Tony Blair, who was prime minister.

Williams was quoted on national television as saying: “Yes, I am lucky to be out, but you cannot blame the judge for what he has done. His hands are tied. He was only doing his job.”

Within weeks, Williams was jailed for eight months – which covered his original sentence and two extra months – for failing to register as a sex offender within three days.

In January, Williams was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court of 15 charges of downloading child sex abuse images. He admitted downloading bestiality images.

On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Petts described some images, of girls as young as seven, as disgusting.

A Sexual Offences Prevention Order was also imposed.

January 2014

Blaenau convicted paedophile found guilty of having 4,500 child abuse images 

DW

A man has been warned he faces prison after being found guilty of having more than 4,500 indecent images of children on computer equipment at his home.

The jury at Caernarfon Crown Court spent just over 90 minutes today deliberating their verdicts and found Derek John Williams, of Penygwndwn, Blaenau Ffestiniog guilty of all 15 charges. 

The 53-year-old faced 14 charges of making indecent images of children and one of possessing such images between January and June 2012.

He had denied the charges and claimed the images had found their way on to various devices without his knowledge.

The 53-year-old also faced eight charges of being in possession of more than 2,200 extreme pornographic images, but moments before the trial  started yesterday he changed his plea and admitted those offences.

During the two-day trial the jury heard Williams had a previous conviction from 2007 for almost identical offences.

The court has heard police raided Williams’ home in June 2012 and seized seven devices. They included two computers, hard drives and a memory stick.

Indecent images were found on all the devices along with more than 260,000 other pornographic images. Experts also found more than 52,000 videos. They said the images were stored in folders in a “chaotic manner” and many had been copied repeatedly.

Williams told police the images were already on the computer when he obtained it. He added the computer belonged to Edwin Jones, a friend, who also lives in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Mr Jones told the jury he had been questioned by police and his computer, mobile phone and other devices away for examination. Mr Jones said nothing was found on the equipment and the investigation was “discontinued”.

Cross examined by Dafydd Roberts, for Williams, Mr Jones said he had given the computer to him “three to five years” previously and had never downloaded any illegal material from the internet.

 Asked why he had given the computer to Williams, Mr Jones said he had no use for it and Williams had wanted it.

 The jury heard Williams regularly bought second hand equipment and would make “one good computer from two or three poor ones”.

Police computer expert Robert Beadon said he found just one user profile on the computer equipment and that was  “Derek”. One computer was password protected and another had its password changed the month before Williams was arrested.

Adjourning sentence for reports the judge, Mr Recorder Timothy Petts, told Williams: “By your guilty pleas and the findings of the jury you stand to be sentenced for very serious offences.

“It is very, very likely the outcome will be a stiff custodial sentence with orders to try and prevent you from offending again.”

The judge ordered Williams resign the sex offenders register.

January 2007

Paedophile freed to save jail space

A paedophile caught with dozens of sick images of children was spared jail yesterday as a direct result of Labour’s prison overcrowding fiasco.

Derek Williams received a suspended sentence after the judge said he must take account of a government plea to send only the most dangerous convicts to jail.

Other criminals to walk free yesterday included a thug who stamped on his unconscious victim’s head.

The fact that one of the first to benefit from the sentencing shambles is a paedophile will come as a severe blow to Home Secretary John Reid, who has repeatedly vowed to be tough on sex offenders. Judge John Rogers QC, handing Williams a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, said: ‘As of yesterday, I have to bear in mind a communication from the Home Secretary.’

The senior judge added that he must take account of ‘the current sentencing climate’, although there were other mitigating factors in the 46-year-old’s case, such as an early admission of guilt.

Mold Crown Court, in North Wales, heard a total of 180 pornographic images were found on his home computer. Among the child images were four video recordings.

Williams, who admitted ten charges of making indecent photographs between November 2005 and May 2006, was also placed on the sex offender register for seven years.

Williams, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, is unemployed having previously worked as a computer expert. He could have received up to a year in jail. In the past, the courts and police have both taken tough action against paedophiles caught with images of children, under Operation Ore.

Interviewed later for TV news, Williams said: ‘Yes I’m lucky to be out, but you can’t blame the judge for what he’s done – his hands are tied. He’s only doing his job.’

He also urged Mr Reid to ‘build the jails as soon as you can, get back this criminal system back on track’.

‘Unacceptable’

Dame Mary Marsh, director and chief executive of the NSPCC, said: ‘It is unacceptable that people who have committed crimes against children are not jailed simply because prisons are too full if the severity of the crime requires a prison sentence.’

The Tories said it was clear that, following the desperate plea to judges on Wednesday, ‘sentences are being dictated by the prison capacity and not the severity of the crime’. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis added: ‘It looks like the consequences of the Government’s failure to address the lack of prison places is coming home to roost.’

It became increasingly clear yesterday – on the day the number of inmates rose by 40 to reach 81,000 – that defence lawyers and solicitors across the country were attempting to make the most of the government plea on sentencing.

Many reminded magistrates and judges of the letter sent by Mr Reid and two senior cabinet colleagues that said custody should be a last resort.

Others to benefit included Jackie Pollard, who stamped on his unconscious victim’s head during a street attack. The 24-year-old was given a suspended sentence for the assault in Leeds city centre.

Despite Judge Jennifer Kershaw QC conceding that Pollard ‘could have killed’ victim Brendan McGibben, she imposed a suspended sentence after listening to pleas from the defence team.

He was out on licence at the time of the attack in January last year after being released early from a three-year jail term for two burglaries.

But his lawyer told the court: ‘Because of the pressures on the prison system that currently exist, I’d specifically urge the court to draw back in this case.’

He escaped with a sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years.

Sabrina Latty, who stole £6,000 from a disabled tourist, was also spared custody.

The 26-year-old’s lawyer, Salim Hafejee, reminded Snaresbrook Crown Court, East London, of the directive from the Home Secretary, and added: ‘My recommendation, your honour, would not be for custody.’

Judge William Kennedy accepted Mr Hafejee’s argument, even though he said he believed the appropriate sentence was 18 months in jail. Latty was instead ordered to do 50 hours unpaid work for the community.

A Home Office spokesman said last night: ‘Yesterday’s statement from the three criminal justice Ministers did not change any sentencing policy, it simply reminded sentencers of the options available to them.

‘Public protection is our priority and there is absolutely no question that serious, persistent and violent offenders should not get a custodial sentence. Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for courts.’