February 2005

Child porn obsession left ‘career in tatters’ – Net porn found in police sting

AN IT worker for Swindon-based finance firm Nationwide has resigned from his job after downloading child abuse images

Stuart Bridger, 38, was caught following an FBI raid on a Texan child porn ring. He had more than 500 indecent images on his computer.

“His promising career is now in tatters,” said his lawyer

The 38-year-old man is now unemployed after quitting on February 1 and his solicitor said his promising career was now in tatters.

Bridger, of Middleleaze Drive, West Swindon, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of downloading indecent photos of children between December 18 in 1998 and December 11 in 2002.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing 506 indecent images on December 11, 2002 the day of the raid on his home.

Swindon magistrates heard the former IT project manager had 207 level one images, 34 level two photographs, 199 level three photos and 66 level four images.

The indecency of the images are measured from level one to five, with one being the least pornographic and level five being the most graphic. The images were found on his personal computer.

Bridger became the subject of an investigation after an FBI raid on a Texan child porn ring revealed he had subscribed to an indecent site.

Mike Pulsford, defending, said: “I would argue that 66 level four images is a relatively small amount of indecent images.

“The evidence shows the images were downloaded in 1999 but then he tried to delete the images in 2000.

“He is a man who, now almost six years ago, downloaded material when he was single, but now matters have now changed.

“Since then, he has met someone and subsequently married. He has now resigned from his job and is unemployed.

“His career is now essentially in tatters.

“I maintain that just over 500 images in total is a small amount compared to others so this is something that the magistrates could deal with and not send up to crown court.”

After a short retirement, magistrates decided the matter was too serious for them to deal with and committed the case to Swindon Crown Court for sentencing.

Bridger was ordered to sign the sexual offenders’ register and was released on unconditional bail.

Nationwide yesterday confirmed that Bridger used to work for the company, but had since resigned.

Jennifer Williams, Nationwide spokeswoman said: “It’s our understanding that none of the activities for which he is accused took place during work hours.”