January 2021

Rothbury merchant navy officer had indecent images of babies and children

A merchant navy officer caught with indecent images of babies and children was told he needs to “realise you have paedophile tendencies” as a judge rejected his excuse for having them.

Michael Robinson had hundreds of the “depraved and disgusting” images but denied getting sexual gratification from them, blaming curiosity.

A court heard he also suggested he was “thinking of putting himself in the position of a child and the feeling of being sexually wanted” – an explanation rejected by a judge.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was back in August 2017 that police identified his internet address as having accessed indecent images.

He was working away at the time but when he returned to the UK in November 2018, police were waiting to arrest him.

His Northumberlandhome was searched and four devices were found to contain illegal material.

There were 145 of the most serious, category A, images and one video, 189 category B images and 442 category C images and two videos.

The court heard the children depicted ranged in age from two months to 15 years.

Robinson gave a prepared statement to police, saying: “I accept I viewed underage images and females involved in sexual activity and I also looked at animal pornography. I got no sexual gratification from this, it’s more curiosity.”

The 47-year-old, of Mart Field, Rothbury, Northumberland, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children.

Judge Tim Gittins sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and told him he must sign the sex offenders’ register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

The judge described Robinson’s explanation about putting himself in the position of a child as “to say the least, odd, if not bizarre” and said he had never come across such a claim.

He added: “You are of previous good character, you were until you started to download images of children that were not just indecent but depraved and disgusting.”

Judge Gittins said the second officer in the merchant navy had travelled the world and his work records show “glowing” annual reviews. But he told him: “All that has been put in the shade by what you have admitted doing.

“You downloaded hundreds of images of the most sickening type. Some of your victims were not just children but, effectively, babies, in the images you were viewing.

“What is clear is each and every re-viewing of an image like that is a fresh abuse of that child. I reject your account of becoming involved out of curiosity.

“The sooner you realise you have paedophile tendencies the better equipped you will be to resist the urges you have to view such images.

“You and people like you cause damage to children by creating a market for such images.”