Feb 2011

Ex-Scout leader jailed for 188,000 child porn pictures

A FORMER Scout leader who had 188,000 child porn images on his computer has been jailed for 16 months.

Stanton Hughes, 63, was caught by police probing an international child porn website and found to have thousands of sexually-explicit images and movie clips involving children.

Southend Crown Court was told police investigating a child porn website in Croatia raided Hughes’s home in Bellemaine Avenue, Corringham on August 6, 2009.

Police arrested Hughes, former group leader of the 2nd Stanford-le-Hope Scouts, and seized his two computers as well as photographic prints.

His computer address was one of several which had shown up as having downloaded images from the site, depicting young girls being sexually abused.

The majority of the images were classed as Levels 4 and 5 on the scale prosecutors use to gauge the seriousness of pornography, with Level 10 considered the most serious.

Prosecutor Cyrus Stroff told the court Hughes refused to answer police questions, merely telling officers: “It’s not very good, is it?”.

HIs lawyer, Marie-Elena Candillio said since being charged, Hughes, a father-of-two who also has four grandchildren, had been shunned by his children, ex-wife and best friend. She insisted he had not meant to look at child porn, adding: “Mr Hughes is interested in naturism and he came across the images as a result of looking at naturist sites.

“Although he accepts he had the images on the computer and at his home, he doesn’t recall seeing all of them.

“He is deeply ashamed and disgusted by what he did and the shame he has brought on others.”

The court heard Hughes resigned from his job with a construction firm in the wake of the scandal.

At an earlier hearing, Hughes admitted seven sample charges of making indecent photographs of children and three of possessing child porn.

Passing sentence, Judge John Lodge said the huge number of images involved left him no option but to send Hughes to jail.

He was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Among its provisions, it bans him from using the internet other than for work, so he cannot reoffend.