October 2015

Pervert jailed for distributing 11,000 images of children and babies being abused


A pervert’s collection and distribution of more than 11,000 films and pictures of young children and babies being sexually abused was like bygone hobby of cigarette card swapping as far as he was concerned, his barrister said.

Lisa Hennessy, defending Shane Smith, 22, of Gloucester Street, Newent, said he is a highly intelligent loner who began ‘trading’ in the illegal imagery as part of living his entire life on-line.

Smith was caught after a tip off from police in New South Wales, Australia, after they arrested a man there and found Smith had supplied him with some of his child abuse images and movies

At Gloucester Crown Court Smith pleaded guilty to nine charges of making indecent photographs of children, six charges of distributing images and two of possessing extreme pornography involving humans having sex with animals.

The offences were all committed between January 2011 and March this year. He was jailed for five and a half years.

Mrs Hennessy said: “He accepts that possession of these images is a revolting offence in itself and distribution renders it rather more serious.

“But he was extraordinarily detached from the rest of humanity and his life was lived on-line. He was really only interacting with his computer in the trade in these images. The word trade does not involve any exchange of money. It was trade in the sense of swapping, in the same way as one traded cigarette cards years ago.

“He now seems to understand more clearly that these images are real and they are real people. They are not just virtual.”

Jailing Smith, Judge Euan Ambrose said on October 16 last year he sent a video of a young girl, aged four or five, being abused by a man in Australia. The Australian police arrested that man and while examining his computer the video he sent him was discovered.

“They were able to trace the computer from which you sent it and then were able to track you down,” Judge Ambrose said.

“On March 4 this year a warrant was executed at your home address. Your computer, iPod and mobile phone were seized and a substantial quantity of indecent images of children was found, as well as evidence of your distribution of those images.

“These are serious offences because each of those images is of a real child being abused. You were not the person carrying out the physical abuse and you did not know the people doing it or the children.

“But nevertheless it was real child abuse and by watching it and distributing it you were supporting the market which causes the perpetrators of such abuse to film it and place it on the internet.

“So, sitting in your room looking at this material may have been acceptable in your mind but it was completely unacceptable.”

The judge said aggravating features which made Smith’s offences worse were the ages of the children, mostly under eight and some very small babies, the fact that he continued for three to four years, the quantity of images involved and the fact that he was effectively trading in them.

Prosecutor Julian Kesner said Shane was collecting and sending images and films via a system called KIK. When police raided his home his cousin was there but he was out. The cousin explained it was Shane who used KIK, not him. Shane was then arrested at work.

A total of 11,000 still images and 173 movies were found on his various internet devices.

Messages from others who Smith communicated with about the vile images included one which asked “how young have you got?” Mr Kesner said one of the babies involved seemed to be no more than two months old.

Defending, Mrs Hennessy said Smith has an ‘unbelievably high’ IQ but had not done well in education and suffered from extreme depression.

“He wishes to return to education when he can. He is potentially rather gifted,” she said. “His IQ is at least 130 and doctors believe he is capable of a First Class degree.

She asked the court to consider a suspended sentence so Smith could get help and treatment.