October 2013

Stafford man convicted of downloading child abuse images slapped with community work after failing to register as a sex offender

A STAFFORD grandfather who downloaded indecent images of children from the internet refused to comply with tough new sanctions on sex offenders, a court heard.

Pensioner Thomas Eaton claimed the regulations imposed last year by the Government were a retrospective punishment which breached his human rights.

 He put his case before a jury at Stafford crown court, but was found guilty of failing to comply with an order requiring him to register as a sex offender.

 Eaton, aged 66, of Peter James Court, Stafford was sentenced in May 2011 to a three year community order and ordered to register as a sex offender for five years after admitting five charges of making indecent images of children.

 The court heard then that Eaton became “addicted” to downloading child porn from the internet. Police found traces of almost 29,000 indecent images of kids on his computer.

 In August last year the Government made the registration of sex offenders rules much stricter, requiring them, amongst other things, to give details of their bank accounts, credit cards, passports and foreign travel details.

 Eaton refused to comply with the requirements and denied the offence on what Judge Simon Tonking called “an intellectual argument”.

 The judge said he had warned Eaton that his case had no merit, the jury hadn’t accepted Eaton’s point of law and the Administrative Court in Birmingham headed by Lord Justice Thomas had ruled in a similar case that it was “rubbish”.

 “I honestly thought I had a point. I have been persuaded I didn’t,” said Eaton, who told the judge he was now complying with the new requirements.

 “You were misguided and to your credit you realise this and you have taken this as far as you can,” replied Judge Tonking, who ordered Eaton to do 100 hours unpaid community work and pay £750 costs.

May 2011

Grandad found with 29,000 child abuse pictures

A GRANDAD who became “addicted” to downloading child abuse images from the internet was spared jail by a judge.

Police found traces of almost 29,000 indecent images of children on Thomas Eaton’s computer, Stafford crown court was told.

The pictures showed children aged between six and 15 and more than 300 of them were in the most vile ‘level five’ category. The court heard that Eaton had been trawling the internet for years up to his arrest in February 2009. Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said Eaton told officers he initially got sexual gratification from the pictures, but that was no longer the case.

Eaton, aged 64, of Peter James Court, Stafford admitted five charges of making indecent images of children.

He was given a three year community order, ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and banned from unsupervised use of the internet for three years. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs.

Judge Paul Glenn said the community order was better than a short prison sentence with no treatment.

He told Eaton: “You need to get the message, these were real children being abused for people like you who get pleasure from viewing this sort of filth.”

The judge said that when Eaton approached his GP seeking help, she had done the right thing in informing the police, but by the time the police went to see him, he had deleted images.

Chris Clark, defending, said: “What started off as abhorrent curiosity led to an addiction. He was perhaps fortunate to recognise it had become that and he sought medical help.”

Mr Clark said Eaton had been a single parent and now has grandchildren. “He’s acknowledged the harm he’s caused to these children by looking at these pictures.”