March 2015

Pensioner who admitted a string of child abuse images charges has avoided jail

Andrew Mathews

Carlisle man Andrew Mathews appeared at the city’s crown court to be sentenced for 15 different counts of either making or possessing illegal images.

Mathews, 66, of Cumrew Close, Durranhill, downloaded dozens of illegal images. Children and animals featured in many of them.

Judge Peter Hughes QC said there was a “conflict” in dealing with Mathews between punishment and preventing him from carrying out similar crimes in the future.

Mathews visited a counsellor in November 2013 because he was feeling depressed and during his time there he had admitted his use of child pornography. This was reported to police and officers carried out a search at his home.

They took away computer equipment and after searching found 94 still images of child pornography, of which 37 were in category A, the most serious class.

David Birrell, prosecuting, said they also located 4,000 “prohibited images” including drawings showing sexual activity with children.

At a previous hearing Mathews pleaded guilty to seven charges of making indecent photographs of a child, four of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving an animal and four of possessing a prohibited image of child.

Keith Thomas, defending, told the court Mathews cared for his disabled wife and pointed out that he had admitted his offences.

“He brought this prosecution on himself,” he added.

Judge Hughes said: “It is quite plain that over recent years you have developed an obsessive and deeply unattractive interest in sexual activity with young children.”

He added that the programme to treat people who use child pornography lasted for three years, longer than the maximum of two years that a prison sentence can be suspended for.

As a result Mathews was given a three-year community order and ordered to complete this programme.

He also had to sign on the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period, was made subject of a sexual offences prevention order and ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.