A FORMER school coach driver who had a library of more than 1,500 pictures of child abuse walked free from court despite a judge admitting some of the images were “vile”.
Murray Dean, 52, of Carraways, Witham, downloaded the images to his home computer, with some showing children as young as four.
Some of the pictures were classed in the most serious category of child pornography, depicting sadism and bestiality involving adults and underage minors.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Dean also traded 137 photographs with other paedophiles over the internet in an attempt to expand his collection.
Despite these details he was given an 18-month jail term, suspended for two years, even though Judge Andrew Goymer said some of Dean’s library was “particularly vile”.
He said: “One of the things that does not seem to get through to people who commit the type of offences to which you’ve pleaded guilty is that this is not a ‘victimless’ offence.
“It is all too easy to think that, because you have not been in physical contact with a child, that makes you blameless. Somewhere in the world, a child is being abused and violated to produce these loathsome images to satisfy the depraved tastes of people like you.
“Have no illusions that this is a very serious offence, because of the harm it does to children – sometimes young children, sometimes children in third-world countries.”
But the judge said a probation report suggested “treatment would work with you”. He was satisfied Dean could be dealt with “in the community, by holding over you the threat of a prison sentence and giving you treatment”.
Judge Goymer warned Dean to “make no mistake about it, this is the only chance you’ll get.”
Police raided Dean’s Essex home on September 7 last year, and later found the material on computers seized at the property.
Officers documented 1,475 still images and 19 films containing child porn
Dean admitted 14 counts of making, three counts of distributing, and two counts of possessing indecent images of children.
He began his career as a bus conductor for the Eastern National Omnibus Company before rising through the ranks of driver, tour guide and tour planner, and eventually being appointed operations manager.
He had previously driven children on school trips, though had not done so since 2000