December 2020

Pensioner who had toddler rape video walks free from court

An OAP downloaded nearly 20,000 indecent images of children at the home he shared with his 90-year-old mum.

Peter Thomas said he became addicted to porn after the break-up of his marriage and would watch it for up to 17 hours at a time.

The grandad-of-two said he then began viewing child sex abuse, following the break up of another long term relationship in 2017.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the former council worker’s sickening collection showed children as young as two being raped.

Thomas today claimed he “no longer watches porn” and had “taken up cycling and gardening” as part of his efforts to change his ways.

And the 67-year-old walked free from court, after a judge said sparing him jail would allow him to continue making “progress”.

Police received information about indecent images being downloaded from an IP address in the name of Thomas’ elderly mum.

Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, said officers raided their home in Youatt Avenue, Prescot on January 23 last year.

He said: “The defendant immediately accepted that he had been downloading porn. He said ‘I got hooked on it, I know it was wrong, I just delete it. I’m addicted to it’.

“That was before caution. After it, he said ‘it’s a relief I’ve been caught, I’ve always been looking at porn but it’s gradually got worse’.

“In an interview, he explained that he started looking at it after a divorce, that it had really taken over his life in some respects, sessions of up to 16 to 17 hours at a time.

Mr Stephenson said most images showed girls aged eight to 10 and Thomas explained he moved from adult porn to “looking at things you shouldn’t”.

Officers found 1,596 Category A – the most serious category which shows child rape – 834 Category B and 16,017 Category C files, plus 828 animal porn images, across two computers.

A USB stick revealed a further 137 images, which couldn’t be recovered.

Thomas, who has no previous convictions, admitted three counts of downloading and one count of possessing indecent images of children, plus possessing extreme porn.

Judge Gary Woodhall said the most serious video featured “a toddler who is visibly distressed because of the abhorrent description of what’s happening to that child”.

The judge said Thomas was a hardworking man, described as “a good father to his son”, who became addicted to the images after the breakdown of a long relationship and losing his home.

Judge Woodhall said he noted that if Thomas was jailed, his brother could take over caring for his mum.

However, the judge said he had to factor in the two-year delay in the case coming to court and the progress Thomas had made due to steps he had taken to get help.

He concluded there was “a realistic prospect of rehabilitation” and “a more constructive approach to sentence here, that would best protect the public”.

Addressing “those who take an interest in sentencing in these sorts of cases”, Judge Woodhall said the statutory purposes of sentencing included punishment, but also protecting the public and rehabilitation.

He said a suspended sentence would hang over Thomas’ head, while allowing him to continue the “progress” he had made.

The judge handed Thomas 10 months in prison, suspended for 20 months, a 60-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 200 hours of unpaid work.

He ordered him to pay £325 towards court costs and to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.