May 2016

Exeter restaurant worker with toddler abuse images sent on treatment programme


A restaurant supervisor has been sent on a sex offenders course after police found him with extreme images of child sexual abuse.

Steven Wilkes used a housemate’s laptop to access a number of images but told police he only did so out of curiosity and was revolted by what he saw.

He hid the computer under a bed in a friend’s room but it was seized and images and movies were recovered with specialist software.

They included one image of a toddler aged between two and four suffering extremely serious sexual abuse by an adult, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Wilkes, 29, of Milton Road, Exeter, admitted five counts of making indecent images of children and was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, by Recorder Mr Stephen Parish.

The recorder told him: “Some of these images were the worst type of child sexual abuse. One which shows a baby or toddler aged two to four being raped by an older male is almost beyond belief.”

David Bowen, prosecuting, said Wilkes downloaded 24 stills and six movies including some of very severe abuse involving very young children.

He said: “The police received intelligence of someone accessing images and initially could not find the laptop, which was hidden in another person’s room in the same house.

“Inquiries revealed it belonged to another tenant but Wilkes had the use of it. He admitted the offences. There is no suggestion he distributed images or made any attempt to contact children.”

His defence said he has already spent seven weeks in custody after he unwittingly missed a bail appointment when he was on a three-month trip to the Far East and Australia.

He had returned as soon as he was contacted by the police and was arrested at Heathrow.

She said Wilkes will now be able to return to his job at an Exeter restaurant. He also has a stable relationship and settled accommodation.

May 2016

Exeter restaurant worker arrested at Heathrow after downloading child abuse images

An Exeter man has admitted downloading child abuse images including children being raped onto a laptop which he borrowed from a housemate.

Steven Wilkes appeared at Exeter Crown Court by video link from prison after being arrested on a warrant at Heathrow Airport when he returned from a gap year trip.

His itinerary through India, Malaysia, and Thailand was interrupted after police in Devon alerted the Australian authorities and he was blocked from booking any further flights.

Wilkes, aged 29, of Milton Road, Exeter, downloading 24 stills and six movies including some which are classified in the most serious category A.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Graham Cottle who said he will sentence him next week when a report from the probation service is available.

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said Wilkes failed to answer bail in February and inquiries showed he was seeking to obtain a working visa for Australia.

She said:”He returned to Heathrow and was arrested after being informed by e-mail that all further onward travel was blocked and he should arrange to return to the UK. He complied.”

Miss Mary McCarthy, defending, said Wilkes had forgotten about his bail date when he went travelling but returned to Britain voluntarily once he was reminded of it.

She says he has a job at a restaurant in Exeter which will be held open for him provided he is freed from custody in the next few days.

She said:”He did not have images on his own devices. He was using one of his housemate’s computers which he borrowed to access the images. He says he did so out of curiosity.”