October 2011

Child porn offender walks free from court

A 48-year-old man has been ordered to spend up to 60 days engaging in an internet sex offender’s programme after being found guilty of viewing child pornography.

Errol Friend, of Fulwell Road, Teddington, was given the order at Kingston Crown Court today as he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for one year.

Friend, who was convicted of 13 counts of making indecent photos of children, totalling 423 images, claimed throughout his week-long trial he had no idea how the pictures got on his computer.

However, a jury at Kingston Crown Court found him guilty on Wednesday, September 28.

At his sentencing, Judge Richard Southwell said: “The evil in these images – and it hardly needs me to tell you – stems from the fact that children were required [through] corruption or coercion for the photos to be taken in the first place and that is a revolting thought for any right-minded person.

“By making these images on any computer it must follow that people that do that do create a demand for that contact which is obviously harmful and probably dangerous for the young children that feature in it.”

He added: “Despite you having contested charges, your readiness to take part in the sex offenders’ programme directed at the internet does demonstrate to me your remorse and that you are now prepared to address [the issue].”

Detective Constable Tracy Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “In cases such as this we must remember that every image represents a child who has been abused in order that the image may exist.”

During his trial last month the jury heard officers raided Friend’s home on August 5, 2009, and police computer experts discovered he had typed Google searches for “raping little girls” and “pregnant pre-teen”.

The court was told police had found photographs under the username Errol or Errol F and they ranged from children posing sexually to three images that showed “sadism between children and adults”.

Neil Ross, defending, referred this week to evidence of Friend’s “positive character” and stated he still denied the offences.

The requirements of Friend’s suspended sentence are that he abides by a supervision requirement for one year, with supervision provided by the probation service. He must also engage in a one-to-one internet sex offender’s programme. Friend has also had to sign the sex offenders register.