October 2009

‘I shopped my boyfriend to police over child abuse images’

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A woman turned in her partner to police after discovering shocking photographs of little girls being sexually abused on his computer.

She said her life fell apart when she realised Andrew Paul Marshall (38) had downloaded indecent pictures.

The 29-year-old said she gave Marshall two firm warnings to stop, but he carried on.

When her teenage sister stumbled across even more shocking images on his computer, she called the police.

She spoke out after seeing Marshall, of Hall Orchard Lane, Frisby-on-the-Wreake, jailed for four months yesterday.

Marshall pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to 10 counts of downloading indecent photographs and a film clip between December 2007 and April 2008.

The court heard the 1,845 indecent pictures of girls found on Marshall’s computer included some being abused and spanned all five levels of seriousness – although most were in the lowest grade, level one.

Outside the court, the mum of two sons from a previous relationship, said: “When I first found indecent images, in December 2007, I couldn’t believe it. He completely denied any wrongdoing and made me feel awful about confronting him.

“He totally manipulated the situation, saying that because of his graphic design job he had accidentally accessed them while searching for girls’ T-shirt designs.

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I still kept seeing the odd picture and he was full of excuses.

“When my sister opened a file, that was the final straw. I called the police on the day we were due to go on holiday and I saw him being arrested at our then-home in Wetherby Close, Queniborough.

“I was sickened and numb with shock when I found out. I also felt fear because I didn’t actually know this man I’d loved and I thought I knew everything about. He comes from a very respectable, loving, caring and supportive family.

“I bear him no ill-will, I just want him to acknowledge he’s got a problem and for him to get help. That is why I reported the matter and I dearly hope his family understand that.

“It isn’t a victimless crime as there are children at risk out there. By viewing these images, he was encouraging abusers to take more pictures.”

Adam Pearson, in mitigation, said: “He says he had no sexual gratification from viewing these images.

“Whilst viewing and accessing adult pornography, he stumbled on the images and started seeking them, initially out of curiosity and then in shock and disbelief it was so easy to access.”

But Judge Michael Pert QC said there was no excuse. “We’re talking about child pornography, not teenage girls, but children who are being subjected to sexual degradation.

“And anyone who contributes to that exploitation occurring, wherever in the world it occurs, is contributing to those acts being done to those children. That’s the evil that you’re perpetrating.”

Marshall was made the subject of a five-year sexual offences prevention order, enabling the police to monitor his computer use.

He must enlist on the sex offenders’ register for seven years and his computer will be confiscated.