August 2017

Durham man amassed ‘huge volume’ of indecent child images

AN apparently respectable man amassed “a huge volume” of images of children being sexually abused, including one featuring a baby, a court heard.

They were among an estimated two million images of children, many not considered illegal, found on computer devices seized from the home of Raymond Keith Roberts.

Durham Crown Court was told such was the volume of material, both still and moving footage, that police were unable to check through all of them and so took a representative sample.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said of those vetted by officers, 10,914 still and 131 moving images, running for 68 hours, contained indecent child footage.

A total of 297 still and 57 of the moving images were ranked in the most severe category for child sex abuse, generally featuring girls aged between four and ten, some in obvious distress.

Mr Morley said scrutiny of the devices revealed much of the material was accessed via the so-called ‘dark’, or ‘hidden web’, in an attempt to conceal his activity, while and a number were exchanged with like-minded individuals via Skype.

Police also recovered images of bestiality and computer-generated pornography.

Roberts, 56. of Yorkshire Drive, Belmont, admitted three counts of possessing indecent child images, one of possessing extreme pornography and one of possessing prohibited images.

But, the court heard there was an element of denial when he came to giving his interview with the author of a Probation Service pre-sentence report, as he claimed he had no sexual interest in children.

Paul Abrahams, mitigating, said: “It was a foolish reaction.

“He clearly has a sexual interest in children, as recognised by the terms of the drafted Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) I have discussed with him.

“Without acknowledgement of that, he’ll be regarded as a greater risk.”

Mr Abrahams said the defendant was a hard worker, educated to degree level, with a good employment record.

Jailing him for 16 months, Judge Christopher Prince said when such images are viewed it was a form of voyeurism, harming the child involved, posing the inevitable fear that those looking at these images may go on to commit full contact offences involving children.

Roberts was made subject of restrictions over contacting children and internet use under the terms of the agreed SHPO, while he must register as a sex offender, in both cases for ten years.