November 2015

Nottinghamshire paedophile kept almost one million indecent images of children

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A paedophile who had almost one million indecent images of children on his computer has been jailed for 12 years.

Thomas Leonard, 23, had also created his own twisted images by taking pictures of local girls he had spied on and doctored them to look like they were engaging in sex acts with him.

Nottingham Crown Court judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, told Leonard he was a “significant risk of causing serious sexual harm to underage girls” after hearing how he also groomed a 14-year-old girl he met on Facebook before having sex with her.

He passed an extended sentence, which means Leonard must serve at least nine years.

The court heard Leonard climbed onto a flat roof at 3am to peer into the bedroom of a young girl, who was sleeping topless, before putting his hand through an open window and taking a picture of her, as well as taking a picture of another local girl undressing.

The court was also told that Leonard also filmed himself masturbating after following a mother and daughter out walking in the woods, as well as encouraging a young girl to pose for inappropriate pictures.

He also took a video of four girls sunbathing on a roof – one of which was topless.

Police had given him a warning in 2009, when aged 17, he was in a “relationship” with a 12-year-old girl and sexual activity had involved kissing her on the lips and touching her bottom.

Prosecutor Grace Hale said police seized two of his laptops and discovered over 900,000 indecent images and only 2,000 did not involve young girls.

“After examining over 3,000 indecent images of children, the examining officer stopped categorising the rest of the images on the computer,” she added.

Of the images, 523 fell into category A – which involves penetrative sex.

Leonard, of Bracken Avenue, New Ollerton, admitted:

  • Five counts of sexual activity with a child

  • Six of making an indecent photograph

  • One of inciting a child under 13 to sexual activity

  • Three counts of voyeurism

  • Two of possession of indecent images, one of exposure

  • One of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence

  • One of taking an indecent photograph.

Justin Atkinson, mitigating, said a probation report suggested Leonard was “somewhat socially inept”, but that he was “sincere in wanting to avoid future behaviour and motivated to engage in an offender behaviour programme”.

But Judge Stokes asked: “What sort of person other than an obsessive pervert at 3am climbs onto a flat roof outside this young girl’s home and puts his smartphone through her window to film her while she’s asleep semi-naked in her bed?”

He added: “This is not the behaviour of someone who is simply immature, this is the behaviour of someone who presents a significant risk of causing serious harm.”

Leonard was sentenced to a total of 12 years – of which at least nine must be served in prison.

Detective Inspector Pete Quinn, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Leonard’s crimes were some of the most disturbing we have dealt with when it comes to indecent images.

“His actions in filming and photographing those around him in the local community were despicable and mark him out as a profound danger to the community.

“We are pleased to see how seriously the court has taken these offences.”