August 2020

College worker downloaded ‘unspeakably appalling’ photos of babies being sexually abused

A former worker at a Welsh college has been exposed as a “committed paedophile” who downloaded sickening images of children and babies being sexually abused and for also possessing ‘paedophile manuals’ which show a step by step guide on ‘how to abuse young kids’

Some of the youngsters being sexually tortured for Michael Ian Powell’s perverted pleasure were as young as just one month old, the court heard.

Former Llandovery College staff member Powell also downloaded so-called “paedophile manuals” from the dark web containing instructions on how to sexually abuse children.

Swansea Crown Court heard 59-year-old Powell was arrested after police raided his home shortly before 8am on October 24 last year.

Sophie Hill, prosecuting, said officers seized a number of electronic devices, and on them found almost 3,500 indecent pictures of videos of children from categories A – the most extreme kind – B and C.

Police also found Powell had downloaded so-called “paedophile manuals” from the internet – one was a guide on how to “obtain and hide a little girl for the purposes of exploitation”, and one was an illustrated guide on how to sexually abuse girls aged between three and six.

Further examination of the devices found Powell had also taken part in sick online group chats, and shared an image of a child being abused with other paedophiles.

The prosecutor said the defendant, who has two grown-up children, made “full and frank admissions” to officers about what he had been doing.

Powell, of High Street, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of children, one of distributing an indecent category A image, and one of possessing a paedophile manual, a relatively new offence created under the Serious Crime Act 2015.

The defence barrister said that though Powell had been divorced from his wife for many years she had attended court – though not come into the courtroom itself – to support her former husband in a “personal capacity” in what he described as a demonstration of “remarkable generosity of spirit”.

Judge Geraint Walters described the images Powell had downloaded as “unspeakably appalling”, and said they were “amongst the most disturbing I have personally had to deal with”.

He said: “How a father of two children can possibly not see the damage which looking at images like these causes children is something I find hard to fathom.

“You were committed to viewing for sexual pleasure other people’s children being gravely sexually abused.

“You can properly be described as a committed paedophile. The reality is you are going to have to battle that condition for the rest of your life.”

Giving the defendant the required one-third discount for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to a total of two years in prison. Powell will serve up to a half of that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

The defendant will be a registered sex offender for the next 10 years and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same length of time to control his access to the internet.