September 2020

Suspended sentence — Isle of Wight man was admin of paedophile chatroom

A Freshwater man found with indecent images of children — who was admin of an online chatroom for paedophiles — has been given a suspended prison sentence and must instead undertake unpaid work in the community.

James Westbury, 25, of Princes Road, admitted three charges of making indecent photos of a child, and one count each of publishing an obscene article, possession of prohibited images of children, and possession of extreme pornographic images.

He appeared at the Isle of Wight Crown Court for sentencing on Friday.

Prosecutor, Edward Elton, said Westbury came to the attention of police through the National Crime Agency.

When questioned, he told officers: “I have been looking at indecent images of children and you will find them on my phone.”

He provided his PIN and made a ‘significant statement’ detailing what he had been doing.

Analysis of his various devices revealed 121 images at Category A, the most serious, 74 at Category B, and 122 at Category C. Most were still images, some were moving.

There was extreme porn, babies, and bestiality, as well as Westbury’s ‘main interest’ — boys and girls aged between three and ten.

Westbury was an admin of an online forum dedicated to images of a specific paedophilia interest and barred anyone from joining who didn’t know the correct terminology for the specific interest.

One of the rules of joining, was that members had to provide a photo of a child every two weeks.

Mr Elton said: “He was in a management role as it were, a gatekeeper for the chatroom.”

Judge Susan Evans said: “I have a great concern with his involvement in the chat site. He was a driving force. He presents a very worrying picture.

“In those images are real children suffering real and horrific abuse. It’s really very distressing.”

She said he had a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation and gave credit for his guilty plea and previous good character.

He was given a ten-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

He must undertake 150 hours of unpaid community work.

He was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years, and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

He has been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults