Dibden man dubbed ‘collector of images of abuse of children’

A pervert who had been collecting over half a million indecent images of children for around 30 years claimed he believed the children in them were not being abused but were models.

Richard Lees was called a “collector of images of abuse of children” by a judge after he was found with more than half a million images of children of which only 54,000 were analysed by police

Police carried out a search of Lees’ home on June 4, 2020, and seized a number of electronic devices, Winchester Crown Court heard on Friday.

Prosecuting, Jack Wright, said that only his desktop computer and mobile phone were examined by police.

The court heard that 11 Category B images and videos were found, but 58,489 Category C images and videos were discovered.

But the true scale of the 45-year-old’s offending could be much greater as more than 500,000 images were uncategorised because “police did not have the resources to download” them.

Lees, of The Orchard, Dibden, was using a BitTorrent to access the images and had three terabytes worth of downloads.

During the investigation police found that Lees would search the same terms and “admitted searching for the same faces on multiple occasions”.

Recorder Power said: “The concern I have, expressed in interview and the pre-sentence report, Mr Lees had no remorse and doesn’t see downloading images of children causes children to be abused.”

Lees previously pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent photographs of childre

Lees was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for 24 months.

He must also complete 100 hours unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days, along with the Horizon programme.