Gerald Hanks – Middlesbrough
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Engineer caught with indecent images of children spared jail
A technical engineer’s bosses helped to save him from jail today after he was caught with indecent images of children.
Gerald Hanks, 58, was described as a vital member of the team with a 40 years exemplary work record with the company.
The judge at Teesside Crown Court told Hanks, from Middlesbrough, that it would be best for the public if he did a sex offender’s course.
Prosecuter Jenny Haigh said that police executed a search warrant at his home early on March 20 last year after the National Crime Agency reported from that child pornography had been viewed at the premises over the internet.
He was the sole occupant and he was arrested and various devices were seized and examined.
Movies and still photographs in the most serious classification were found on three computer towers and a laptop.
He accepted that he was responsible for all of them and he accepted that he had a sexual interest in young children.
Miss Haigh added: “He said that he had accessed it. He said that adult pornography had not been sufficient for him”. He had no previous convictions or police cautions for anything.
Scott Taylor, defending, said that Hanks’s employer was aware of the case and he had sent a reference for him to the judge.
Mr Taylor added: “He was a man of exemplary character before, and he has worked there since he was 17.
“He is a sad and lonely individual, who did not have a partner and did not have any sexual activity in his life.
“He started to examine pornography, and it spiralled down to child pornography.
“He would benefit from intervention from the Probation Service. He was advised from the outset that he faced a custodial sentence.
“There is a substantial prospect of him being rehabilitated with a suspended sentence to include supervision and a sex offender’s treatment order of two years.”
He said that Hanks was a key member of staff and he now full realised that viewing child pornography created a dangerous demand.
Judge Tony Briggs told Hanks: “You are a man who has an excellent work record, and it’s plain, from the information that I have and I accept, that you are a valuable employee, well over 40 years with the same employer.
“But there is plainly a darker side to you, namely the possession of child pornography.
“It seems to me that the public is best served by you going on that (sex offender’s treatment) programme rather than a sentence of imprisonment.”
Hanks, of Egerton Street, Middlesbrough, was given a 12 months jail sentence suspended for two years with supervision, the sex offender’s treatment programme, a ten year Sexual Harm Prevention Order restricting his Internet access, and ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to making and possession of child abuse images and extreme pornography between April 2005 and March last year.