January 2021

Paedophile who had child rape pics walks free from court with ‘supportive’ wife

A paedophile who downloaded child rape photos walked free from court with his “supportive” wife.

James Shaw, 33, secretly amassed more than 2,000 indecent images of children over a 12-year period.

The civil engineer’s sick collection included files showing victims of child sexual abuse as young as four.

Liverpool Crown Court today heard his partner was “standing by him”, despite concerns over his behaviour.

And the couple left the building together when Shaw was spared jail after a judge said he had demonstrated “true remorse”.

The court heard police raided Shaw’s home in Willis Street, Warrington on April 23 last year and seized his laptop.

Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, said Shaw was arrested and interviewed that day, but answered “no comment” to all questions.

His laptop was analysed and police experts found a total of 2,058 indecent images of children, all of which were still photos.

They included 79 Category A – the most serious category showing child rape – 123 Category B and 1,856 Category C indecent images.

Mr Stephenson said there were also 24 pseudo photos of children – “cartoon images of them engaged in various sexual activities” – and a single extreme porn image.

However, when interviewed by police again on September 9, the suspect again replied “no comment” to all questions.

Shaw later admitted three counts of downloading and one count of possessing indecent images of children, plus possessing prohibited images of children and extreme porn, between June 2008 and April 2020.

Mr Stephenson said Shaw was “more forthcoming” in a pre-sentence report, when speaking to the Probation Service.

He said Shaw suggested that “after 12 years of viewing pornography of young girls” he “strayed into some very young categories”.

The judge, Recorder Eric Lamb, said: “The ages range down as low as four-years-old.”

Mr Stephenson replied: “The suggestion in the pre-sentence report is he was looking at just under age girls, but clearly there is other activity as well.”

Recorder Lamb said aggravating features of the case included “the deliberate or systematic searching for images portraying young children” and the “large number of victims”.

However, he said mitigating features included that Shaw had no previous convictions, his remorse, “previous positive good character” and his “steps taken to address offending behaviour”.

The court heard Shaw was assessed as being a medium risk of serious harm to children

Recorder Lamb told Shaw: “You’re 33 years of age, a man in settled employment, having first undertaken work for others and more recently being self-employed as a civil engineer.

“You have family responsibilities and much as your wife is concerned by the matters which have come to light as a result of this investigation, she has demonstrated both to the author of the pre-sentence report and to you by attending today that she remains supportive of you.

“You’re lucky in that respect that you enjoy that support.

“Those who know and care for you are no doubt as surprised as the public to discover that you have lent yourself to conduct of this sort.

“However, you have demonstrated your true remorse by your pleas of guilty, even though you elected to make no comment to questions that were put to you by the police in the investigation.”

The judge said the case had been “hanging over” Shaw since April 2020 and there had been no further offending since.

He said Shaw claimed he received indecent images of children as part of a torrent file download, which “piqued” his interest, but accepted that he then searched for pre-teen photos.

Recorder Lamb said: “On the other hand, the pre-sentence report makes clear that you have been active in seeking help for the problems that you have, you have been applying yourself willingly to counselling at the Central Warrington Counselling centre, and this behaviour is very different from any behaviour that you have exhibited otherwise in your life.”

He handed Shaw eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, a 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, and told him to attend a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme.

The judge said: “I have concluded there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case, that immediate custody will result in a significant harmful impact upon your family as a result of any loss of employment and that there is strong personal mitigation from the efforts that you’ve been making to seek to amend your behaviour.”

Recorder Lamb ordered Shaw to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Shaw must also pay £425 towards court costs.