October 2015

Paedophile jailed after indecent images of children stored online were traced back to him

A FATHER was caught with indecent images of children after investigators traced pictures he had stored in cyberspace back to him.

The National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) found three images of girls in a virtual storage device linked to Karl Chambers’ email account.

The photographs showed men with real girls aged nine and 11 which were in the two worst categories of indecent images.

When police later executed a warrant at Chambers’ address they seized electronic equipment including a mobile phone which had 231 indecent images of child avatars, or computer generated images (CGI), stored in its memory.

The 47-year-old from Rudds Hill, Ferryhill, County Durham, admitted a charge of making indecent images by uploading the real images to an online ‘cloud’ on February 25 and 26.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of prohibited images of children – the CGIs- on his phone at a hearing on September 23.

Before sentencing Chambers at Durham Crown Court, Judge Christopher Prince took the rare step of asking a police officer to bring the images to court so he could gauge how realistic the avatars were.

After viewing them he described some as “particularly grotesque” and said anyone glancing at them would believe them to be real.

Judge Prince said: “Computer images these days can replicate real life to a very high degree, most commonly I would think persons may have seen computer football games with very high quality graphics.

“I have to say the images I have seen today give an even greater sense of reality.”

He believed the only way such realistic scenes could be created was if stills had been taken from a film recording of men engaging in sexual activity then the computer generated images of children added.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said it was international protocol to track people who store illegal images online through methods such as email addresses, mobile numbers and web accounts.

Chambers had said he could not recall storing the images and when asked how they made him feel replied: “Sick.”

He told police he had viewed computer generated material when he was drunk and stored them on a cloud so his teenage son would not see them.

Alex Menary, mitigating, said: “He is a man who doesn’t have any relevant or very recent previous convictions.

“He leads a somewhat isolated life.

“He was abusing alcohol at the time and had been working in a job which involved challenging circumstance working with those with learning difficulties which he can no longer do so is currently unemployed.”

Chambers was sentenced to eight months in prison and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years. A sexual harm prevention order was made and a confiscation order was made for the phone.

Judge Prince added: “It is important that those who would engage in such offences know they cannot avoid detection my making use of a cloud in this manner.”