A PERVERT who downloaded indecent images of children as young as 12 will be free to continue living just yards from a high school.
David Hughes avoided a prison sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children.
Police raided his home in Denbigh Close, Clayton, near Clayton Hall Business and Language College, on June 23 last year.
After seizing his computer and 110 discs, they found 35 moving images of children.
Hughes, who also admitted possessing indecent images of children, was sentenced to a three-year community order at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Prosecutor David Bennett told the court that Hughes was not at home when police arrived at his house.
He said: “While the search was being executed the defendant returned to the address.
“After asking for the reason for the search, he said he just had naturist film and normal pornography. He said his wife only used the computer to search for and book holidays.”
Police found that three of the computer discs contained indecent moving images of children.
There were 17 images at level one, 16 at level two, one at level three and one at level four.
Fifty-five still images of children were also recovered from the computer, although these had been deleted.
The ages of the children concerned ranged between 12 and 16.
In interview, Hughes admitted searching the internet using search terms such as “girl”, “secrets”, and “Lolita”.
The defendant told police he did not know it was illegal to have indecent images of 16-year-olds, as he did not know the age of consent in these matters was 18.
Lee Masters, defending, said: “This case involves a relatively small number of indecent images.”
He added: “His wife continues to support them and has come to court.”
Judge Robert Trevor-Jones told Hughes he would have to undergo a sexual offenders’ programme.
He will be on the sex offenders’ register for five years, and will be disqualified from working with children.
Judge Trevor-Jones said: “It’s quite clear from this circumstances of this case that you have a long-standing habit of accessing adult pornography, which over time has progressed to accessing images of children.This type of offence is very serious.”
Judge Trevor-Jones said that four charges of making indecent images of children, to which Hughes had pleaded not guilty, would remain on file.
Hughes’s former neighbour Joan McGovern believes he should not be allowed to continue living nextto a school.
The 63-year-old, who moved to Lyme Valley three years ago, said after the case: “I called ChildLine and told them about him living next to a school.
“But they said that as long as his probation officer keeps an eye on him, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Hughes has previously featured in The Sentinel in 2004 when he scooped £67,000 on the National Lottery.