March 2012

Man with 5,000 child porn pictures is jailed

A 59-year-old man found with more than 5,000 indecent images of children has been jailed after almost eight years in hiding.

Paul Ashton, from Sussex, but of no fixed address, fled the area after he was arrested in 2004.

Ashton was only caught following a tip-off after he was featured on the Crimestoppers Most Wanted list.

He was discovered living in South Wales under an assumed name.

He has now been jailed for 30 months.

Detectives said Ashton’s sentence highlights that police will “catch up” with criminals.

Ashton was initially arrested in 2004 after Sussex Police raided his home in Bracklesham Bay and recovered computer equipment.

He was arrested and bailed while officers analysed the hard drive.

His address was searched again a few months later with more computer equipment seized.

Police said all the computers contained numerous indecent images on the hard drive and USB sticks.

Indecent pictures

However, Ashton fled his home and did not answer bail. He was only traced in July last year after someone spotted his photo on the Most Wanted list.

South Wales Police were told and he was arrested, when more computer equipment with further indecent pictures of children was found.

He pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court to possessing more than 5,000 indecent images at a hearing on Thursday (March 1).

DC David Midgley, of West Sussex CID, said: “This case highlights how an individual’s criminality will catch up with them – whether it’s weeks, months or years later.

“Credit must go to the anonymous informant to Crimestoppers who became suspicious and rang in. Thanks to their actions, Ashton was finally brought to justice after spending nearly eight years in hiding.

“Ashton recognises that in each image, a child was a victim of crime.

“The length of the sentence shows how the justice system will punish those who download indecent images of children.”

Ashton was also given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.