May 2012

Paedophile traced from Russian website

A PAEDOPHILE photographer who said he had taken “millions” of pictures of children and put part of his collection on a perverts’ internet site based in Russia was jailed yesterday.

Michael Carruthers, 45, was tracked down after investigators monitored the website and discovered one of the contributors may have had links to the North-East.

Detectives determined that some of the pictures had been taken in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool. They identified some of the youngsters and even arrested their parents.

It quickly emerged, however, that they had no knowledge of the crimes.

Carruthers, of Galt Street, Durham City, admitted charges of making, taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of children and was jailed for two years and eight months.

When questioned, he said he had been attracted to children for years.

Judge Howard Crowson also banned the father-of-two from working with children for life and imposed an order restricting his computer use and banning him from owning cameras.

Carruthers was also banned from unsupervised contact with under-16s.

Teesside Crown Court heard how police found more than 12,000 indecent images of children after seizing computers and camera equipment from Carruthers’ former home in Hartlepool.

The former factory worker told officers he had taken millions of pictures, and said none of the parents knew what he had been doing.

Richard Hermann, in mitigation, said: “It is despicable, appalling behaviour and there is really nobody who is more aware of that in this court or elsewhere than the defendant.”

Mr Hermann said his client had told him: “All of my life I have wished that I could get help, but I knew if I went for help I would lose everything if I revealed everything.

“I have gone through my life hating who I am and what I am. It is a relief to me that I have been caught. I have never, ever been able to talk to anyone at all about this before.”

Mr Hermann said: “This is a man who is crying out for help. He is open and willing to accept help. That is what he has always wanted and needed.”

After the case, a relative of some of the victims, said: “He is not going to be cured. He loves children the way I love my husband. He likes children and he always will.

“Two years and eight months will not stop him liking children. He will always want them. He is sick. If he was a dog, you would put him down.”