Oct 2008

‘Dirty old man’ spared prison by judge

A former nudist colony boss, described as a “dirty old man”, has escaped a jail sentence for downloading child sex abuse images.

A judge decided elderly Leif Hayward was not a danger to the public and took into account his age and poor health.

But he told the 75-year-old pervert: “You demonstrated in an interview with a probation officer that you are an argumentative and opinionated and stupid man, as well as being a criminal.

“You should think about that before you sound off about the injustice you perceive to have received. There would be no injustice if I sent you to prison today.”

Hayward, of Maida Road, Chatham, admitted 10 charges of making indecent images of children between November 2001, and September 2007. He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

Alex Wilson, prosecuting, said it was not possible to say when the images, two of which were at the highest level of five, were actually created.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Hayward, who has previous convictions for sex offences, now deals in porcelain on the auction website eBay.

Joseph Boothby, defending, told judge Jeremy Carey: “He is a very foolish and cantankerous old man. He has not done himself any favours with the attitude he has taken with the probation service.

“He is in many ways a left-over from a different era – a dirty old man in a nudist colony ogling adolescents. He doesn’t appreciate it is not regarded as a comedy any more.

“It may be he is rather slow to learn that lesson. He and his wife were managers of a nudist colony and had an interest in naturists. He wished to look at films of children in nudist colonies. We now know it was a salacious interest.”

Mr Boothby said Hayward now lived alone and was “basically harmless”, adding: “It may be you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Hayward was banned from having access to the web at home, but allowed it at a public library, internet cafe or education facility.