October 2017

Pensioner, 87, downloaded child abuse images as he was bored

A retired financier was found with hundreds of child abuse images after he started searching the internet out of boredom.

Robert Sutherland, aged 87, retired to Newton Abbot after a successful business career in Switzerland but became bored after finishing a distance learning degree.

He was traced through his use of peer-to-peer file sharing sites several years after he downloaded the material, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He has suffered social stigmatisation as a result of being prosecuted and has been asked to stay away from his church and skittles team.

Sutherland, of Blenheim Close, Newton Abbot, admitted four counts of making or possessing indecent images of children and was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months and ordered to attend 40 hours of probation supervision by Judge Erik Salomonsen.

He also ordered him to sign on the sex offenders register for seven years and made him subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same period which allows the police to monitor his future internet use.

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said a warrant was issued after police received intelligence about internet sites being accessed from Sutherland’s address.

An examination of his computers found a total of 390 images, of which 172 were in the highest category A, which shows serious child abuse.

He said he had no sexual interest in children and could not recall downloading some of the images, but the youngest children in them appeared to be aged about eight.