February 2021

Businessman who blamed ‘work pressure’ for most sickening images imaginable walks free

A businessman was caught with indecent images of kids and extreme indecent images or movies involving dead babies while he was living at a church vicarage.

Robert John Billson, 63, described himself as the owner of a multi-million pound recycling company to police.

But while living at The Church Of The Holy Spirit in Dovecot, he downloaded the most sickening photos imaginable.

These included files categorised as extreme pornography which included dead children.

A judge branded Billson’s “library” of more than 500 illegal images “vile” and said some were “seriously extreme”.

But the paedophile walked free from Liverpool Crown Court on Friday after claiming he “lost his moral compass” while under pressure at work.

Police received information that a child sex abuse image was uploaded onto the internet from an email address via Google Photos in early 2019.

Simon Christie, prosecuting, said officers traced this email to Billson, who was living at the church vicarage in Dovecot Avenue.

Officers raided the address on January 24, explained why they were there and asked Billson if he knew anything about it.

He replied: “Yes, I know what you’re talking about, but I can’t remember the image – the two devices you need are upstairs.”

Officers found 52 Category A indecent images – the most serious category showing child rape – on a laptop, iPhone and tablet.

They found a further 39 Category B and 243 Category C files, 40 prohibited images of children, and 135 extreme porn files.

When interviewed, Billson admitted searching for and downloaded the content.

Mr Christie said: “He explained he owned a multi-million pound recycling company in Northern Ireland and had allowed at least 15 members of staff to use his computers for business purposes.

“He said he had been under pressure at work and lost his moral compass when alone at night in hotel rooms.”

Mr Christie said the indecent images showed boys and girls, some as young as four, being sexually abused, while computer generated images portrayed toddlers being molested.

He said one extreme porn photo involved a dead baby and a man, while another involved a dead girl with a man at a mortuary.

Billson, now of Draycott Road, Bournemouth, admitted three counts of downloading and one count of possessing indecent images of children, plus possessing prohibited images and extreme porn.

Judge Byrne handed Billson 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, a 60-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a two-month home curfew, from 7pm to 6am daily.

Billson must sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Data from Companies House shows Billson has been the director of multiple dissolved firms based in Chester and Preston, including Material Works and Revolve Recycling.