July 2007

Paedophile jailed for hoarding images

A paedophile who blamed his hoarding of child sexual abuse pictures on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is today behind bars

Stephen Bloomfield, of Lambert Drive, Acton, was caught with 1,991 indecent images on computer equipment at his house

He was sentenced to 14 months in jail at Ipswich Crown Court by Judge Neil McKittrick after pleading guilty to the offences in 2005.

Most of the pictures found by police were of pre-pubescent children, some barely beyond infancy, and the pictures are believed to have been taken in Thailand and/or South America.

The court heard how Bloomfield, a father-of-four, had an addiction for such images dating back six or seven years.

In court he was supported by his family, including his wife and 17-year-old daughter, and the judge took into account character references, including one from Bloomfield’s local vicar.

Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said: “The majority of the images were saved, rather than looked at and discarded. It was his addiction which led him to do this.”

Harriet Bathurst-Norman, mitigating for Bloomfield, 35, said: “He was so troubled by it all he was grateful to be arrested.

“It was his OCD, not an addiction to porn or child porn, which led him to downloading these images.

“It wasn’t just porn he couldn’t stop downloading, he nearly went bankrupt online.

“For example, with model aeroplanes he just clicked on whole lists and ordered them. He bought ones he already had for absolutely no reason other than an obsession to keep doing it.”

Judge McKittrick said: “You [Bloomfield] play your part at the end of a chain which starts with young children somewhere in our world being abused by adults for the gratification of others.

“However, I don’t consider you pose significant risk of serious harm to the public.”

The judge said a report from a doctor said Bloomfield did not fulfil all the criteria for OCD. However, the judge said Bloomfield did “get relief from anxiety by carrying out impulsive addictions.”

Bloomfield, sentenced for having and making indecent photographs of children, was told he would be released on licence half way through the prison term, and that he must do a sexual offenders’ programme.

He said Bloomfield’s current place on the sex offenders’ register would be extended to ten years, and that he would be made subject to a sexual offences prevention order, which included a ruling banning him from taking pictures of any under 16s except his children.