December 2011

Bored worker caught with indecent images

A HUSBAND who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Leigh Kelsall, aged 40, of Woodshutts Street, Talke, who has been married for 17 years and is responsible for four children, downloaded the images out of curiosity and boredom, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard

Prosecutor Heather Chamberlin said Staffordshire Police received information from the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and went to Kelsall’s address on July 23.

He was not there, but his wife allowed officers to search the address.

“They removed computers. And they went to his workplace and took his laptop, which was for his exclusive use,” said Miss Chamberlin.

The court heard the computers were forensically examined.

The laptop taken from Kelsall’s home was found to contain 19 images at level one, seven from level three, one from level four and one from level five – the most serious.

And on his work computer there was 81 images at level one, one at level two, 54 at level three, 160 at level four and 12 at level five.

Kelsall, who has no previous convictions, was arrested on August 22. In his police interview he confirmed his address but then answered no comment to all questions put to him.

But Kelsall pleaded guilty to nine charges of making indecent photographs of children.

Anis Ali, mitigating, said Kelsall has admitted full responsibility for his offending by pleading guilty at the first opportunity.

“He bitterly regrets his offending,” said Mr Ali.

“He has been married for 17 years and there are four young children for who he is responsible. His family remain supportive of him.”

Mr Ali said Kelsall would benefit from structured intervention.

“The offences were not deliberate, but were born out of curiosity and boredom,” said Mr Ali.

“It is clear his motivation needs further exploration and needs addressing.

“He has expressed a willingness to comply. He wants the assistance available.”

Mr Ali said Kelsall has spent 111 days on remand and added: “Should he re-offend he is likely to lose the support of his family.”

Judge Granville Styler said the case clearly passed the custody threshold.

He said if Kelsall had been convicted after a trial he would have been sentenced to 12 months in prison. But that could be reduced to eight months because of his guilty pleas. And because Kelsall has almost served a four month sentence the judge decided the community would be better served by sentencing Kelsall to a community order.

The order is made up of three years’ supervision and a requirement to engage in the community sex offender group work programme. Kelsall was also disqualified from working with children and he will be on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Judge Styler told Kelsall: “If you commit another offence which involves downloading photographs of children you are likely to have a long sentence imposed upon you.

“The aggravating features were the number of level four and five images.”