February 2015

Man with 70,000 child abuse images on his computer avoids jail

A MAN was caught with nearly 70,000 child abuse images on his computer.

The images included children aged between 13 and 15 years old and were stored on a laptop and external hard drive.

James Cormier told officers when he was arrested that he appreciated ‘artistic artwork of teenagers’.

Cormier, 32, pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to 10 counts of making indecent photographs of a child, three counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child and one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Emma Kehoe, prosecuting, told how officers from the public protection unit executed a warrant at his former home in Accrington just after 7am on March 5 last year. They seized a black Samsung netbook and an external hard drive and were sent away for computer analysis.

Miss Kehoe said: “In total there were 70,000 images found, although only a sample of those have been involved in the indictment. These included 149 category A images – the most serious – 130 category B and 100 category C images along with two videos.

Miss Kehoe said: “They are reflected in the indictment although in total there were 65,947 category C images on the netbook.

“There were also 100 prohibited images, those representing 418 similar images, and the prohibited images are drawings, almost like a cartoon.”

Miss Kehoe said the girls pictured ranged from 13 to 15 years old however the girls in category A and B are ‘closer to 15’.

The court heard how in his report, police expert Anthony Carter said ‘it appears to be the case that the system user has constructed a structured environment for the storage of the reported imagery’.

Clare Thomas, defending, said: “He is extremely remorseful for his conduct. He recognises it was wrong.

“He was arrested 12 months ago now and these matters have been hanging over him and his family and he has had a long time to reflect on his actions and the damage to his family.”

The court heard how Cormier, now of Manchester Road, Haslingden, has sought help from the registered sex prevention charity Lucy Faithful Foundation.

Cormier was given a three-year community order with a supervision requirement and ordered to attend an internet sex offender treatment programme. He was also given a sexual offences prevention order and a sexual offender notification provision order, both to run for five years.

Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “The downloading and possession of images of this sort is always considered serious by the court because of the harm done to children and young people.”