April 2006

Man admits porn problem to rebuild marriage

A prison drugs adviser who downloaded pornographic images of children was caught when his estranged wife found the perverted pictures, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Peter Hale, 46, of Whytecliffe Road, Purley, admitted 17 charges of possessing indecent images and was given a three-year community order.

The court was told when her husband left her Suzie Hale browsed through his computer and was shocked to find child porn coming up on the screen.

Philip Jones, prosecuting, said: “The couple were temporarily estranged in September last year, and he was not living in the matrimonial home.

“Mrs Hale discovered, when looking at the computer, an indecent picture of a young girl. This disturbed her and she reported the matter to the police, who seized the hard drive and discs.”

Hale was contacted and went to Croydon police station where, in an interview, he spoke of watching the pictures out of curiosity and of downloading some of them.

But after an expert examined 284 images and about 60 movie clips he was interviewed again.

Mr Jones added: “He was now more frank and he said he had accessed sites.

“Initially it had been curiosity but it continued for 18 months. He had not engaged in any kind of distribution, but he acknowledged he had a problem and was receiving counselling.”

Lindsey Thompson, defending, said there had been no obsessive storage or sharing of images.

She added: “In his younger life he had an addiction to class A drugs while, near middle-age, he developed an addiction to pornography there were adult images on the computer.

“The child porn was a way of seeking new highs. He accepts he used them for sexual gratification, but he has done all he can to rehabilitate himself.

“He is reconciled with his wife and they have been back together since November, working together to repair their marriage.”

Hale lost his job as a drugs and drink adviser with the Prison Service, where he had been able to draw on his own experiences to help inmates.

Judge Stephen Waller ordered Hale to attend a sex offenders programme run by the probation service and he will be on the sex offenders register for five years.

He was also told he must pay £105 costs.