April 2011

Pervert spared ‘too short’ prison term

A pervert who downloaded more than 6,000 sexual images and films of children from the internet walked free from court on Friday.

A respected judge said his hands were tied when he was forced to spare Edward Bowron jail, because a prison sentence would not be long enough to rehabilitate him.

Bowron, 50, pleaded guilty to the offences at Taunton Crown Court.

Sentencing him to a three-year community and supervision order, Judge Graham Hume Jones said: “I cannot say in public how I feel about the restrictions put on the court for the sentence I am about to issue.

“There is a programme designed to help you rehabilitate. But because the custodial sentence I could give is not long enough for you to complete the treatment, the only option I have is to issue a community order.”

Bowron was also ordered to sign the sex-offenders’ register for five years.

Bowron was well known through his business connections as a former leader of the Mendip Area Chamber of Commerce, and as an ex-manager of Baily’s Sheepskin factory on the Morlands site in Glastonbury.

The former-junior rugby coach, of Roughmoor Lane, Westbury-sub-Mendip, was arrested almost a year ago.

He was charged with 17 offences of making indecent images and films of children over a ten-year period.

Child pornography is classified in five categories, with category five the most disturbing.

The court heard how 5,227 category one images were found on Bowron’s laptop, along with 136 category two images, 353 category three images and 287 category four images.

He also had 20 film clips which featured children.

Nearly all of the images were of young boys aged between six and 15.

Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said Bowron was arrested on May 11 by police after he subscribed to a specialist website.

She said: “When police visited his address, he admitted he had been looking at images like this online for almost ten years a few times a week.”

Virginia Cornwall, defending, said there was no evidence Bowron had distributed the images, and pointed out that 87 per cent of the images and films had been classed as category one.

“He is a man who has always suffered from isolation, low self-esteem and confused sexuality,” she said.

“In a way, his arrest was a relief, because it brought an end to the secret he was holding.

“He was a man of previously good character, but this has destroyed his marriage.

“This had led him to the brink of despair, but he has accepted what he has done, engaged with the police and his GP.”

She said Bowron had been referred to a consultant psychiatrist and was undergoing cognitive behaviour therapy.

He also applied to join a Thames Valley-based scheme to rehabilitate sex offenders.

She said there had never been any suggestion that Bowron had sought to physically interfere with a child.

Commenting on the sentence, an NSPCC South West spokeswoman said: “While we are unable to comment on this specific case, the NSPCC believes sentences for offences against children should be appropriate to the crimes committed and should reflect the harm and long-term impact on children and young people.

“There is a phenomenal amount of indecent images being circulated online.

“It is a major problem that needs to be urgently tackled.

“Every image represents a child who has been sexually assaulted.

“In determining sentences it is vitally important to consider the risks posed by offenders and how they are monitored and supervised.”