February 2021

Padiham army cadet had indecent images of children

AN army cadet was forced to move out of his family home after he was found in possession of hundreds of indecent images.

Paul Pearson had photos of children as young a seven on his devices, which were discovered by police in the summer of 2019.

Burnley Crown Court heard how detectives became aware of suspicious activity through an e-mail address linked to Pearson and tracked him down through his IP address.

A warrant was executed at Pearson’s family home and the teenager was arrested and questioned. While in interview he gave officers passwords to several of his online accounts, where further disturbing images were found.

Of those pictures 25 were category A (the worst kind), 52 at category B, 208 at category C and a further 30 ‘prohibited’ images.

A can of pepper spray was also discovered in the teenager’s bedroom.

In defence it was heard how the Padiham man had gained ‘no sexual gratification’ from the photos.

Pearson was also suspended from his course at Nelson and Colne College and was forced to move out of his family home when the offences came to light.

It was also argued that the now 21-year-old, who it is understood was 18 when he first came into posession of the images, had entered early guilty pleas and was of previous good character.

Sentencing, Judge Sara Dodd said: “You are a very young man and when you committed these offences you were younger still.

“The images that you downloaded were very disturbing. There are video images of young children being raped.

“You say that you have no sexual interest in young children -that is not an unusual standpoint for someone in your position.

“You have heard us talking about guidelines. And the starting point, because there are category A images, being one of 12 months.

“I bear in mind however that the majority of them are category C. However there are aggravating features. I must balance those features against the mitigating factors.

“You have been honest about what you have done and there is an element of remorse and shame. You have no relevant previous convictions and that as important, as is your age at the time.

“I accept if I was going to send you to custody for the appropriate time you would be in a prison environment during a period where there is no education, no intervention and no support.

“In my judgment there are grounds to have confidence you won’t offend further and the most appropriate way from protecting the public from the interests that you have in children is to impose a community order.”

Pearson was handed a two-year order with 40 rehabilitation requirement days attached and 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and notification requirements for five years.