June 2016

Grandad avoids prison over downloading of indecent child images

A grandad from Sawbridgeworth who downloaded indecent images of children – some involving penetrative sex with youngsters aged two years old – was spared jail at Chelmsford Crown Court today (Thursday).

Instead, insurance worker Geoffrey Leeds, 65, of The Four Acres, who pleaded guilty to five charges of making indecent images, was given eight months’ jail suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work and made the subject of a 40-day rehabilitation order.

In addition, a ten-year sexual harm prevention order was imposed and Leeds was placed on the sex offenders register, also for a period of ten years.

Judge Christopher Morgan, imposing the sentence, told him: “You said you downloaded the worst images by accident, but your search history shows it is to the contrary.

“You’re a man of 65 who worked until caught for these offences and was of previous good character. You’ve no doubt lost your standing within the community and friends – these are part and parcel of the offences you carried out.

“You understand what you did was to abuse real children, but it may well be you’re burying your head in the sand.”

The names of websites he downloaded from were found on two computers at his address after police had gone there armed with a search warrant. There were 12 images at the highest level A, 34 at level B and 90 level C.

Prosecutor Charles Digby said: “He previously worked in insurance, is married with children and grandchildren and had taken to visiting on his computer internet sites.

“Police were alerted to the activity and went to the address on 4 June last year. His wife phoned him and asked him to return from work and he was arrested. He gave a ‘no comment’ interview.”

He continued: “There were images of children aged two to three and five in sex acts with adult males, acts of penetrative vaginal sex with children aged eight and other images including movies.”

David Baird, mitigating, said: “Although he accepts what he’d done is wrong he doesn’t recognise there’s something underlying sexually wrong and he’s a minimal risk of further offences.”

Granted unconditional bail originally, said Mr Baird, the police and probation have recognised he’s “unlikely to commit further offences – he’s been punished for what he’s done”.

He continued: “He’s resigned from his job of 27 years, warned his grown up children about the situation and lost friends and his status in the community. He had always lived a law-abiding life.”

Mr Baird said Leeds had not elaborated on his motivation, but that his wife had been “disabled in effect for 25 years and he himself has a heart condition”.