June 2009

A MAN from Braintree, who volunteered for his church and charities for many years, has been sentenced for downloading child porn.

Married Brian Mead, 53, logged on to an American website, bought 489 indecent images of children and burnt them on to five CDs, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Rex Bryan, prosecuting, told the court that Mead’s home in Drake Gardens was raided on February 12 last year, following information from USA authorities as part of operations Flicker and Myosis.

He said: “What the information showed was this defendant had paid a subscription to an American pornographic website which included, shall we say, the provision of child pornography.

“As I understand it, it was not exclusively children.”

The following day, Mead volunteered to be interviewed by police and made a full confession.

Mr Bryan said: “He said he had paid a subscription to this website for a 30-day period of $79.95.

“He said he didn’t receive any sexual gratification from looking at these images, but he said it was a comfort to him.

“He was aware it was illegal to have these images and he said he was sick and ashamed for what he had done.”

Mead had admitted six charges of making and one of possessing 489 indecent photos of children at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last month.

Richard Potts, mitigating, said Mead had been heavily involved in a local church and charities, but had stepped down after his arrest.

None of his roles brought him into contact with children, he added.

Mr Potts said Mead had had a breakdown because of work-related stress which cost him his job, and he was now self-employed doing gardening and other jobs for mainly elderly clients.

He said: “It was something that he did at a time when he was not his rational self.

“He has, he tells me, no interest in looking at these images.

“He can’t explain to me why it was done, but simply points to the stress he was under at the time.”

Judge Christopher Ball QC said he had taken into account references from friends and colleagues who all supported Mead.

He handed Mead a three-year community order, including the sex offenders treatment programme.

He also ordered him to pay £250 costs and remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.