April 2011

Leeds man had 30,000 child abuse images

A family man had almost 30,000 images of children being sexually abused on his computer when police raided his Leeds home.

Investigators also found that Adam Haigh had distributed many of the vile images to other people via an internet chatroom.

Haigh, of Stocks Approach, Seacroft, was jailed for two years and eight months on Thursday after pleading guilty to 24 charges relating to making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Michael Greenhalgh, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court police searched his home in May 2009 and found 29,858 indecent images after seizing computers.

During a three month period in 2007 he distributed 1,506 of the images to five other people via an internet chatroom called Googlehello.

Of the images found in his possession, over 6,000 were found to be at levels four or five – the most serious.

Mr Greenhalgh said Haigh, a furniture maker, was arrested on May 30 2009 and made partial admissions before being released on bail. He refused to comment further when questioned a year later.

Ian Cook, mitigating, said: “There are two sides to this defendant’s life.

“On one side the decent, hard working, family man and the other side – the sordid involvement and obsessive internet use which brought him into contact with these images.”

Mr Cook added: “He knows he has brought shame upon himself and upon his family and that causes him considerable remorse.

“He had become obsessed with these images, he knew it was wrong and but for the involvement of the police he would have continued to offend.”

The barrister said Haigh accepted that he had the images for his own sexual gratification and wanted help to get treatment for his behaviour.

Jailing him, judge Rodney Grant said: “Children are exploited in order that these photographs be taken and distributed.

“The court takes a very serious view to this kind of activity.”

After the case, Det Con Claire Forder, from West Yorkshire Police, said: “This conviction sends a message out to those who seek to exploit children.

“This is not a victimless crime – children are being sexually abused to feed the fantasies of people like Adam Haigh.”