November 2011

Devious paedophile jailed for trying to trick judge into relaxing restrictions on internet use

A “HIGHLY devious” paedophile tried to con a circuit judge into relaxing restrictions on him using the internet.

Michael Tibbitts, aged 43, who has a history of downloading abusive images of children, was banned in August 2010 from accessing the internet from his home or via a mobile phone.

It followed his latest conviction for viewing and downloading images of child sex abuse.

Rebecca Wade, prosecuting at Northampton Crown Court, said Tibbitts was first jailed for 12 months in 2004 for possessing and making abusive images and then again for 16 months last year when 40 similar images were found on a memory stick.

She said: “Given the obvious risk in terms of the risk he poses to children, one of the prohibitions prohibits him from having a computer with internet at his home address. He made an application on July 15, represented by counsel and appeared before Judge David Tomlinson.”

The court heard Tibbitts produced a letter purportedly from Bill Chippington haulage, based in Corby, in support of the application.

However, a detective with Northamptonshire Police’s Dangerous Persons’ Management Unit was in court for the hearing and contacted the firm.

Miss Wade said: “Effectively the letter said all their work is done by computer email and they were unable to offer him employment without it.

“That letter was handed to the Crown and during the course of the application hearing, handed to the judge.

“That letter is a forgery, A statement from the company confirms it is an utter forgery. He did used to work there but because of his convictions, he was no longer required.”

Tibbitts, of Oak Road, Kettering, who pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, was jailed for three years.

Judge Richard Bray said: “The prohibition was made for obvious reasons because it prevented you from getting on the net in private.

“Your next step was to apply to this court to remove that prohibition and you did so by producing a completely bogus document.

“It was only by chance an alert detective chose to check the contents.

“If that had not happened there is every likelihood your application would have been successful and you would have been free to use the internet at home for the illicit purposes as you had before.

“It is relevant you are assessed by the Probation Service as presenting a high risk of serious harm to children.

“This was therefore a highly devious and very serious offence with potentially serious consequences.

“A substantial prison sentence is needed in such circumstances.”

Wife Jennifer Tibbitts, aged 41, who was in court, was given a suspended prison sentence last year after being convicted of deleting images from her husband’s memory stick, after the police had been alerted by the person who found them.

DC Eleri Neale, of the Dangerous Persons’ Management Unit, who proved the letter was a forgery, said: “I think the sentence entirely appropriate to the full circumstances of this case which includes very relevant previous sexual offending by the defendant.

“I’m pleased Judge Bray took the time to carefully consider all the elements.”