March 2016

Plymouth man viewed indecent images of children


A MAN who viewed more than 4,000 indecent images of children has been told that he supported a “vile trade” of exploiting abuse.

Justin Stone, aged 40, looked at thousands of internet pictures, some of the most appalling kind, a court heard.

A judge said that by viewing the images he was perpetuating the suffering of child abuse victims.

Judge Ian Lawrie ordered that Stone be held in a cell for more than an hour – but suspended his prison sentence.

He told Plymouth Crown Court: “These children are robbed of their innocence at any early stage of their lives. You should reflect on the misery your viewing would have helped cause to someone somewhere around the globe.”

Judge Lawrie said some of the images were “appalling”.

Stone, of Hallerton Close, Leigham, admitted seven charges of making or downloading indecent images of children.

They included about 250 Category A images, the most vile type featuring children being abused.

The court heard that images had been viewed over almost five years on his laptop.

Richardo Childs, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police acting on intelligence about internet use from the National Crime Agency raided Stone’s former home in Langdale Gardens, Estover, in June 2014.

He immediately admitted that he had viewed indecent images of children.

Dr Childs said police found more than 4,200 pictures dating back to 2009.

Ali Rafati, for Stone, who has no previous convictions, said he was in a healthy adult relationship with a woman who was standing by him.

Judge Lawrie imposed a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, under probation supervision.

The court heard that probation officers would address his sexual offending, though not through an accredited course.

Stone must pay £535 costs and will sign the sex offender register for a decade.