June 2021

Paedophile with ‘truly stomach churning’ abuse images of children and babies spared jail

A paedophile from Runcorn who was caught with “stomach-churning” images of children as young as 18 months being sexually abused, raped ot tortured has avoided prison.

Roy Watkinson, 47, was handed eight months behind bars, suspended for two years, today at Chester Crown Court after pleading guilty before magistrates to three counts of making indecent images and one of possessing extreme porn.

Paulinus Barnes, prosecuting, said the charges related to all class of images including Category A – the worst type

The ages of victims ranged from 18 months upwards.

Mr Barnes told the court Watkinson was arrested at home where he was living on Rosemary Avenue in Runcorn on September 5, 2018, when officers seized a variety of digital devices including a hard drive, USB stick, Dell laptop and Mac.

Watkinson initially claimed in interview with Cheshire police he had been looking for “mother and daughter” porn featuring adults, but when confronted with details of what investigators found on his devices, he switched to “no comment” answers.

The court did not dwell on the content of the Category A images but Mr Barnes said they contained abuse “of almost every type”, and Judge Steven Everett, Recorder of Chester, called the details “completely disgusting”, “really shocking” and “sickening”.

The case took around two-and-a-half years to reach sentencing due to the police being “overwhelmed” with investigations and prioritising probes involving suspects who live or work with children.

Recorder Everett, however, called the delay “completely unacceptable” and said he will raise the issue with Cheshire’s new chief crown prosecutor, its police and crime commissioner, and chief constable, when he meets them.

Watkinson, who brought a bag of belongings to court and appeared in the dock in a pin-stripe suit, had no previous convictions.

There was a brief interlude to agree on a standard Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to replace the one proposed by the police.

Recorder Everett said the films contained “truly awful sexual abuse”.

He noted the delay in bringing the case to court and considered the sentencing guidelines, and sentenced Watkinson to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, with a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement and £250 to pay towards prosecution costs.