August 2015

Carer who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children escapes jail

A CARER from Winsford who downloaded more than 500 indecent images of children has escaped jail.

At Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, August 12, Gary Bowley, 47, of Aston Avenue, Winsford, was handed a 16-month jail term, suspended for two years.

Bowley pleaded guilty to:

  • Three counts of making indecent photographs of children

  • Three counts of distributing indecent photographs of children

  • One count of possessing indecent photographs of children

  • One count of possessing a prohibited image of a child

Speaking on behalf of the crown prosecution service, Jo Maxwell told the court how Bowley’s secret was uncovered following a raid at his home in Aston Avenue last November.

Officers confiscated computer equipment during the raid, which was analysed by investigators.

A total of 514 indecent images, ranging back to 0ctober, 2007, involving children aged 5-17, was recovered from the computers.

Investigators found 109 Category A images – images involving ‘penetrative sexual activity’, 127 Category B images – images involving non-penetrative sexual activity – and 278 Category C images – images featuring ‘erotic posing’.

The court heard how Bowley, who lived with his partner and son, had been unable to work due to the diminishing health of his mother, who suffered with dementia.

The court heard how Bowley had used the dark web – a murky side of the world wide web that cannot be accessed through traditional search engines – to download illicit images.

On November 11, 2014, Bowley used the peer-to-peer software, TurboWire, to download 11 Category A images, eight Category B images and 17 Category C images.

A ‘peer to peer’ network is created when two or more PCs are connected and share resources without going through a separate server computer.

While the court heard there was ‘no evidence’ Bowley actively distributed the images, there was a small window – less than 48 hours – where they were available for others to download.

Bowley initially told police he did not intend to make the images available to others.

In delivering his sentence, Judge Neil Flewitt QC called Bowley a man of ‘previous good character’ and praised his pre-sentence report.

Mr Hunt told the court how Bowley had been ‘consumed by shame and remorse’ and was ‘deeply ashamed’ of his actions.

Bowley was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, and must participate in internet sex offenders programme for two years.