June 2015

IT manager with 12k indecent images spared prison

AN IT manager has been spared jail after police discovered more than 12,000 indecent images stored on his workstation at a Blackburn IT firm.

Alastair Fay, 31, admitted making and possessing thousands of indecent images – claiming to be gaining expertise into hi-tech crime.

Fay, who has since been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, denied having any sexual interest in the children pictured – who were aged between six and 11 years old.

He claimed his interest stemmed from some work his wife was undertaking as part of her PhD studies, which involved identifying offenders whose faces were pixellated by examining other body parts.

Fay even offered to share his expertise with the head of Lancashire Constabulary’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit, Preston Crown Court heard.

But Judge Pamela Badley, sentencing, said: “I have seen these pictures and they are filthy.

“Your family would be shocked if they saw them, particularly the sheer number of them, and your excuses as to why you did it are frankly not impressive.

“It is a very inappropriate use of your skills as a computer manager, particularly as you were using your work premises for this activity.”

Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, told the court officers raided the Infoserve premises on the Greenbank Technology Park, Blackburn as Fay was arriving at work at 8.30am on May 21.

They seized his HD tower workstation before carrying out a further search of his home in Preston, where further equipment was taken for analysis.

A folder was discovered which allowed the user to share files online although there was no evidence of Fay distributing the thousands of images he had stored.

Virginia Hayton, defending, said Fay had been suffering from undiagnosed bi-polar disorder which affected his thinking.

He was the main breadwinner while his wife studied but members of his family had been concerned about his mental health for some time.

He had also spoken of building an eco-house in Scotland and hiring out bicycles, Miss Hayton told the court.

However he has since sought treatment and is more stable in his condition.

Judge Badley said: “I do accept that you had and still do have a lifelong mental health condition which had not been diagnosed and during your manic periods you have become obsessive in the past.

“Your obsession in relation to these images is partly because of the thinking skills problem that you had.

“It is obvious you were almost fooling yourself at the same time.

“The point is this. Real children are harmed and real children are used by these people who are putting this material on the dark web for other people to download.”

The judge said ordinarily the quantity and nature of photographs would warrant a custodial sentence but she was satisfied Fay would receive better treatment for his mental health difficulties in the community.

She handed Fay, of Burrington Close, Fulwood, a 12 month sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered him to take part in an internet sex offenders program.

He has been made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and is subject to notification for five years