October 2017

Eversley lorry driver spared jail despite having child abuse images

A lorry driver has avoided time in jail after being found to have nearly 300 extreme pornographic images on his laptop.

Robert Coombes, 62, of Lower Common, Eversley, appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday 28 September, after pleading guilty to possession of indecent images of children

The court heard how police visited Coombes’ home on July 25 this year, seizing a Toshiba laptop, after suspicions had arisen there was inappropriate material on the device.

On the laptop, police discovered category A – the worst classification – along with 296 extreme pornographic images including pictures involving sexual intercourse with a dead or alive animal.

Prosecuting, Simon Edwards said: “Further inspection of the laptop discovered that Coombes had computer cleaning software and proxy services installed on the computer, frequently used to access this kind of material online. There was no distribution of the images, however it still supports the exploitation of young people.”

Defending, David Castle, said: “Mr Coombes told police that he had not intended to download the material.

“They were pop-ups that had shown during searches for other material, he also told police he did not know that some of the material was illegal until they told him.

“Mr Coombes has previous good character and has a longtime wife, who he supports at home.

“He also had an early guilty plea and has promised that an offence like this will never happen again.”

In sentencing, Judge Andrew Barnett imposed a five-year internet usage injunction, preventing Coombes from accessing similar material and stops him using incognito browsers, and a twoyear community order and 80 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Barnett said: “At your age, you should realise that this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable. During your community order, you will be watched very closely and if you breach your internet injunction you will be faced with a lengthy prison sentence.

“You should be absolutely ashamed getting caught out viewing this material.”

An order was also made for forfeiture and destruction of the laptop.