Dec 2005

Manager downloaded ‘horrific’ images of children

A PHOTOGRAPHIC shop manager who downloaded thousands of child porn images from the internet and stole snaps belonging to customers has been jailed for two years.

Gordon Archer also used a colleague’s credit card details to access a child porn site, causing him to be arrested on suspicion of committing an offence.

A judge said it was especially serious for the victim as he also worked as a school portrait photographer.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Archer, of Primrose Drive, Ditton, near Maidstone, had since 1999 downloaded 4,671 still images and 2,408 video clips.

One of the pictures showed a two-year-old girl and another aged five. The others were of children aged eight to 14.

Danny Moore, prosecuting, said some of the images showed youngsters being beaten and tortured.

Police raided his home and seized his computer. Before it was examined, Archer made a full confession about images that would be found.

Also found in his bedroom were numerous photographs of women and children in various stages of undress that he had stolen while working at Jessops and One Hour Photo.

Mr Moore said the photos were not obscene but showed customers in bikinis and shorts. “They were scanned into his computer plainly for sexual gratification,” he said.

Archer also subscribed to a file sharing system on the internet which allowed him to access child porn.

The prosecutor said the colleague whose credit card details Archer used was arrested in front of his girlfriend, held in custody for a day, his computer was analysed and his home was thoroughly searched.

Archer admitted 14 charges of making an indecent photograph of a child and asked for others and theft and obtaining services by deception to be taken into consideration.

Satman Bains, defending, described the use of the credit card as unfortunate.

But Judge Andrew Patience, QC, said: “It is a bit more than unfortunate. It brought about the humiliating and totally distressing arrest of an innocent man in front of his girlfriend, whose faith in justice must have been shattered.”

Mr Bains said the day after Archer’s arrest he made a serious attempt to commit suicide by taking 50 painkillers and trying to gas himself in a car. A passer-by realised what was happening and Archer was taken to hospital.

“He is still under the care of a psychiatric team,” he said. “This man is a very troubled and tortured individual who has had to face up to his offending over a number of years.”

Judge Patience told Archer: “I have run out of words which seem adequate to describe those who use computers to download these ghastly and horrific images of children to whom the most dreadful things are done.

“The wickedness in this is that people like you feed the market. So long as there are people like you prepared to pay money for this, there are people on this planet prepared to do these things to children, to whom one’s heart goes out.

“There is nothing one can do to save or help these children. It is clear that over a period of years you have been addicted to this material.

“An immediate custodial sentence must be passed to punish you and, perhaps I say this forlornly, to deter others.”

The judge said there would be an extended licence period of two years and Archer would remain on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

He was also banned from working with children, having access to a computer and having employment that involved processing photographs.