February 2021

Oldham man spared jail despite extreme pornography found on his phones

An Oldham man who had child sexual abuse images on his phones has been spared jail.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard John Bennett’s foul images only came to light when police looked at his devices when they were investigating him on suspicion of theft.

As well as the images of children they also found an extreme image depicting a person performing a sexual activity on a horse.

He confessed to three counts of downloading indecent photographs of children and one of possession of an extreme image and appeared in court to be sentenced.

Prosecutor Bob Elias revealed how the material was discovered.

He said: “In November 2018 the police arrested John Bennett at his then address in Oldham in relation to allegations of theft.

“In the course of their investigations a number of his electronic devices were seized.

“Two phones were found to have indecent pornographic images on them.”

He added there were seven category A, the most serious, images of children, six category B and 36 C

He added that the image relating to the horse was found on Whatsapp.

He said: “He was interviewed, he said he knew nothing about the indecent images, he said they were on his phone which he had bought second hand from a shop in Oldham Town Centre.”

The court heard the 38-year-old had written a letter to the judge which set out traumatic experiences he had undergone.

Representing Bennett, of Littlemore Lane in Oldham, defence counsel Katy Laverty said he was willing to address his problems and this would not be possible in prison.

Imposing a sentence, judge John Edwards said: “You yourself recognise every picture viewed is an abused child and that same child once you have viewed it has probably been seen by thousands of people..

“You are indirectly contributing to that same abuse.”

He added that Bennett’s difficulties meant the case could be dealt with “more constructively” than by locking him up.

He placed him on the sexual offenders’ register for ten years, ordered him to take part in the Horizon Programme and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and also to undertake 40 rehabilitation days.