February 2015

Former millionaire jailed for distributing extreme indecent images and videos of children as young as six

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A FORMER millionaire businessman has been jailed for distributing extreme indecent images and videos of children as young as six.

Frank Langworthy, who Bolton Crown Court heard was once a successful businessman until he went bankrupt in the recession, was caught in a NationalCrime Agency investigation aimed at tracking down people using peer-to-peer file sharing software to pass around child sex images over the internet.

Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting, told how the agency managed to obtain the addresses of people using eMule software, including the home of 48-year-old Langworthy in Hawkshead Drive, Bolton.

Langworthy was not at the property when police raided it on April 24 last year and found two laptops.

One of them was switched on in the living room and an expert examination revealed it contained a total of 373 indecent images of children and a further 24 videos.

Mrs Thomas added that 46 pictures and 20 videos, which showed children as young as six, were identified as being in category A, the most serious category, which includes pictures of penetrative sex.

A further 154 pictures were rated as category B, with 173 still images and four videos classified as category C.

In addition, Langworthy, who had been involved in sharing child abuse images for several years, potentially had access, over the internet, to folders containing a further 430 images.

When he was arrested, four days after the raid, Langworthy initially denied having obtained and distributed child images, claiming that it could have been done by a neighbour with whom he alleged he shared a wireless router, or that his computer could have been infected with a Trojan horse.

Eventually he admitted his involvement, pleading guilty to 16 counts of distributing indecent images of children and a further charge of possessing indecent images of children.

Colin Buckle, defending, said Langworthy, a father-of-one had hit “rock bottom” as a result of his crimes.

He has separated from his wife and resigned from a managerial job with a postal company.

“He was previously a millionaire with two remarkably successful businesses,” said Mr Buckle.

He added that Langworthy was remorseful and could empathise with the child victims in the images as he had been abused himself as a child.

“It is a shadow that has never left him,” he said.

Sentencing Langworthy to 30 months in jail, Judge Elliot Knopf said that a message had to go out to the public about the seriousness of such offending “to try to prevent the poison spreading further than it has.”

“What it was to you was akin to an addiction,” added the judge.

“Had you not been caught you would have carried on doing it.”