August 2015

Microsoft reported Bristol man to police after detecting 25,700 child abuse images on his computer

A BRISTOL software engineer who downloaded more than 25,000 child sex abuse images was caught when Microsoft detected him moving them between computers.

Bristol Crown Court heard father-of-three Perry Leo had started downloading pictures of girls aged between eight and 14, some of whom were being raped and abused by adults, after suffering a head injury in a riding accident.

The 54-year-old, of Turnberry in Warmley, pleaded guilty to possessing 25,700 child abuse photos.

Neil Treharne, prosecuting, said software giant Microsoft had detected the abuse images as Leo transferred them between computers and reported him to the police.

The company, which produces the Windows operating system, has previously reported offenders in America who used its cloud storage and e-mail accounts to send or store child abuse images.

In a first interview Leo denied ever seeing such material, but in a second he explained he downloaded adult porn and couldn’t say for sure if he had seen the child images.

The court heard he had 46 photos in the worst abuse category, which includes images of rape and other penetrative sexual activity, 693 in the second category, which covers other sexual activity and 25,000 in the third, which covers other indecent images. The child images were of girls aged eight to 14.

Nicholas Clough, defending, said it was when his client moved files from his computer to a laptop that Microsoft became aware of the child photos and reported him.

Mr Clough said Leo had fallen from a horse and suffered a head injury, before being released from hospital and downloading the images.

He said the result of the offence was Leo’s wife of many years decided their marriage was over. He said “intelligent” Leo had had therapy and taken steps to avoid re-offending.

Recorder Stephen Hall handed Leo an 18-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work today.

He told Leo: “You downloaded these images in 2008. You downloaded them following your release from hospital where you had been recovering from a traumatic injury to the head. You did not copy or share them with any individual.”

Leo was given a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, banning him from unchecked internet use or working with youths aged under 18 unsupervised.

He was told to pay a £100 victim surcharge register as a sex offender for ten years.