June 2020

Man caught with indecent images and children’s underwear was a director of a chain of nurseries

A man caught with indecent images of children was a director of a chain of nurseries, a court heard.

James Hoyle, 31, appeared before a judge after police found more than 200 child abuse images on a computer hard drive.

After executing a search warrant at his home in Didsbury in May last year, officers also found ‘what appeared to be children’s knickers and children’s bedding’, prosecutors said.

Hoyle was a director of the Happy Days chain of nurseries at the time of his offending, but the court heard he has since resigned his post.

Prosecuting, Daniel Calder said that an analysis of the hard drive seized from Hoyle’s home found 217 indecent images.

In some images, the child appeared to be aged between 13 and 15, the court was told.

Prosecutors said Hoyle had used ‘anti-forensic measures’ to remove internet browsing history.

He had also used ‘virtual devices’, which suggested he wanted to use the internet without being identified, Mr Calder said.

In an interview with police, Hoyle made a prepared statement which said he had ‘mental health issues which require therapy and investigation’.

It added that his father and partner were monitoring his internet use, and that he was engaging with an independent organisation which works with ‘individuals who are being investigated for this type of offence’.

The court heard that two of the pairs of underwear were found by police in a computer desk drawer, where the hard drive which contained indecent images was stored.

But Judge Anthony Cross QC said: “I am not going to accept that they are there for innocent purposes.”

The judge said that Hoyle has been undergoing therapy which ‘seems to be working’.

He said there was ‘significant’ mitigation in the case, which allowed him to spare Hoyle jail.

Hoyle was sentenced to six months in prison, which was suspended for 12 months.

He was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a program addressing sexual offending on the internet.

Hoyle, of Crossway, Didsbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent images of children.