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Pensioner who stalked teen and had indecent images of children is spared jail
A PENSIONER who stalked a 13-year-old girl and took pictures of her while riding on the bus avoided jail last week despite being found guilty of possessing more than 150 indecent images of children.
Peter Bailey, 74, of Meriadoc Drive, South Woodham Ferrers, had pleaded guilty to six counts in total last month, and was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years by Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC.
While there was no allegation of Bailey making his own images, or distributing the pictures he had, Mark Lakin, representing the Crown, said he had a clear taste for young girls which influenced his decision to stalk his victim.
He said: “”The images show a significant preference to children of the age range into which the victim falls.”
While the majority of the 152 images that Bailey possessed on his laptop and a series of memory sticks were of the least serious category C nature, four were deemed to show the most serious grade of sexual abuse.
Appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, Bailey remained silent throughout as the court heard that some of the images he possessed showed girls as young as three to five years old.
Describing the stalking charge, Mr Makin added: “He got on the bus and positioned himself directly opposite her.
“It was quite clear he had an interest in her and was taking surreptitious images of her.
The harassment, which ran over a week in September last year, was stopped when the victim’s dad was alerted to what was going on and rang the police.
When they investigated, Essex Police searched the pensioner’s home, a housing association flat, where they found the stash of inappropriate material.
Instead of being imprisoned, Bailey was named in a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told to attend a rehabilitation programme for the next two years.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £500 and after passing sentence, Judge Goldstaub issued a warning to Bailey.
“It goes without saying that if you bother or stalk any young girl, that matter will be brought before the courts again and you will be sent to prison for a lengthy term,” he said.