November 2017

Bridgwater pervert avoids jail for ‘repulsive’ acts

A JUDGE has told a paedophile who viewed and distributed hundreds of photos and videos of child pornography his crimes “beggar belief”.

Police raided the Bridgwater home of Philip Hicks, 67, after being tipped off about his activities by Yahoo and Chat Shop. Most of the children were under eight, with some as young as two.

Hicks avoided jail after admitting six offences at Taunton Crown Court – instead he received a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Nikki Coombe, prosecuting, told the court that he admitted he was responsible for the images when officers raided his home, although it later emerged he hid a memory stick containing more images.

Mrs Coombe said: “Most of the images were of girls aged six to eight – the children can clearly be seen in pain or distress. “He said he’d been doing it a couple of days a week while in his home in Bridgwater. He said he was ashamed of what he’d been doing and was going to seek some help.”

Emma Martin, defending Hicks, who had no previous convictions, said her client admitted his crimes were “utterly inexcusable”.

She added: “He’s horrified, ashamed and in equal measure desperate to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Sentencing, Judge David Evans told Hicks he was “entirely a paedophile” who had committed “repulsive offences” by viewing and sharing hundreds and hundreds of images of children being raped and even restrained while being abused. You appear to have been entirely oblivious to the appalling harm that lurks behind these offences,” added the judge. “It beggars belief.”

Hicks was given 20-month concurrent prison sentences suspended for two years for one count of making indecent images of children and one of distributing indecent images of children.

He received 12 months concurrent jail terms suspended for two years for a total of four other offences. The judge said he stood a better chance of being rehabilitated in the community than behind bars.