May 2015

Soldier downloaded hundreds of child abuse movies

A soldier downloaded hundreds of movies of child abuse with victims as young as three – because he had become “immune” to normal porn.

Serving soldier Royal Dragoon Guard Raymond Astley became used to extreme images after years of viewing porn, a court was told.

He began downloading films and images of children being sexually abused and of sex involving animals.

Police went to his house in Wilson Street, Cardiff, and seized a computer and various hard drives, prosecutor Gareth James told the court.

After weeks trawling through them, they found 903 movies and 42 pictures at the most serious level.

There were also 558 movies and 176 stills in categories B and C.

Mr James said it would have been so costly and time-consuming to forensically examine every hard drive that only “triage checks” were done.

Astley, who was said to have previously lived an “unblemished” life, appeared beforeCardiff Crown Court via a live video link to Parc prison where he was being held on remand.

He was on bail but arrested and held in custody after being found with a laptop.

The 55-year-old told police he “started with legitimate porn” and for the “past five years progressed to images involving children”.

Mr James told the court: “He said he had become immune to ‘normal porn’ and moved on the extreme porn and that featuring children.”

The children captured in the images and footage were aged between three and 16.

Karl Williams, defending, said Astley had an unblemished Army record and did not seek to blame things he saw for his offending.

He told the court: “Mr Astley does not have an interest in engaging in sex with children. He knows many people do progress from watching this material to going on to such activities but there is no evidence of that at all in this case.”

Recorder Huw Rees jailed Astley for 12 months, put him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, and imposed a five-year restriction on his use of the internet and his contact with children.

He pleaded guilty to six charges of possessing indecent images of children.