April 2021

Grandad amassed 21,500 sickening abuse images

A Yarm grandad is still in denial that he does not have a sexual interest in children after narrowly avoiding time behind bars.

“Successful” Robert Carter asked officers if searching for “nudist beaches” was an offence as they rifled through his family home on January 29, 2019.

But Cleveland Police found that the paedophile had amassed a collection of almost 22,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse.

The sickening material was stored on a number of Apple devices spanning over 18 years.

The 68-year-old previously pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Teesside Crown Court heard how police officers carried out a search of Carter’s home address on Nursery Gardens, Yarm, which he shares with his wife.

The pensioner was arrested at 7.10am and a “large amount of technical equipment” seized.

Officers described Carter as “running a smart home and complex set up”.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecuting, said a number of Apple devices were seized by the force, including an iPhone 10, iPad Pro, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, as well as two Western Digital hard drives.

A report examining the devices found the Apple computer and storage systems were linked to one single AppleID.

Ms Haugstad said there were a number of search terms relating to child abuse materials.

She also added there were emails located from 2002 linked with the abusive materials.

On Carter’s mobile phone, “indecent keywords” were found in his history as well as “pre-teen” searches.

In total, Carter possessed 312 images and 62 videos under category A – the most serious under the law.

There were also 679 images and 98 videos classified as category B and 20,415 images and 133 videos under category C.

A total of 21,699 images and videos were located on Carter’s devices.

During police interviews, Carter denied the child abuse images but told officers he had looked at “nudist beaches” – then asking if that was an offence.

He also said he didn’t search for the materials but “collects pictures”.

Carter maintained he “doesn’t have a sexual interest in children” throughout his interviews and presentence report.

Judge Deborah Sherwin told Carter how the abuse is perpetrated on “real-life children” stating that he “quite clearly must have an interested” in youngsters.

She sentenced Carter to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He must also complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay the prosecution’s costs.

Carter will also be on the sex offenders register for 10 years.