August 2020

West End actor claims he is addicted to downloading indecent images of children

An actor from Leeds has claimed he is addicted to downloading indecent images of children.

Police caught Roger Rowley with hundreds of indecent and prohibited images of children last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard the then 33-year-old told police he had planned to stop doing so before his next birthday – comparing it to a heroin addiction.

Handing him a community order, Judge Penelope Belcher told Rowley: “It is not an addiction in that sense.

“It is an active choice on your part to go and look at these images.”

Prosecutor Katy Rafter said police became aware on December 15, 2018 that indecent images had been accessed from Rowley’s IP address.

Officers executed a search warrant at his home in Scotland Way, Horsforth, and his work on June 25 the following year.

Devices, including a MacBook and a SD card, were seized from both locations.

Ms Rafter said a total of 1,534 still and moving indecent images were found across the devices, 365 of which were in the most serious category.

Two hundred and fifty were in category B, while 919 were in category C.

Children in the indecent images ranged in age from one to 16 years old.

He was also found with a number of animated images depicting children being abused. Children in those images ranged in age from four to six years old.

Ms Rafter said there was evidence Rowley had began downloading the images as far back as 2014, had used internet search terms to find them and had saved them in a series of folders, with names such as ‘personal films’, ‘naughty’ and ‘lol’.

In his police interview, he told officers was addicted to downloading the images, comparing it to a heroin addiction, and planned to stop doing it again before turning 34 years old.

Rowley, now aged 34, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent photos of children and one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Rowley played the lead role in Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, the multi award-winning West End production

He had previously played the role in an amateur production at Yeadon Town Hall and studied at the Guildford School of Acting

Rowley was handed a three-year community order with requirements to complete a sexual offender programme and 40 days of rehabilitation activity.

He was placed on the sex offender register for five years and made subject to a five-year sexual harm prevention order

The court was told that Rowley’s brother and his wife are aware of his conviction and allow him to stay in contact with their children. However, a family court or social services will need to approve the contact before it can continue.