February 2021

Benfleet paedophile failed to declare phone with abuse pics on it

A paedophile who had indecent images of children on a phone he failed to declare to the police has been spared jail.

Jamie Johnstone appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday for having indecent images of children and for breaching his sexual harm prevention order.

The 35-year-old of Seymour Road, Hadleigh had his home raided by police on November 15 2019 after it emerged a device had been used to access the indecent material.

Johnstone’s Samsung mobile phone was seized, but was not analysed until May the next year.

A total of 29 category A images – the most serious kind – were found, along with 22 category B and 43 category C.

The court was told Johnstone had previously been given a community order in 2015 for similar charges, along with four incidents of voyeurism.

Johnstone was at the tail end of his community order at the time of the offences, and explained to the police when interviewed that he didn’t realise he needed to declare the phone to them as part of his order.

He also said that he had accessed the indecent images inadvertently.

Mitigating, Cyrus Shroff told the court that Johnstone had admitted his offences at the earliest opportunity and he sought out professional help himself, paying for sessions with his own money.

Recorder Claire Davies told Johnstone: “You said you didn’t know you had to inform police about the purchase of a new phone. I do not accept that but you do say this is a one off occasion and there is nothing to suggest that is undermined.”

Johnstone received a three year community order with 40 hours rehabilitation and 150 hours unpaid work.