April 2021

University graduate downloaded 8,000 images of child sexual abuse

A university graduate was caught with thousands of images of child sexual abuse on his phone, a court has heard.

Police found more than 8,000 indecent images on a mobile and on computer hard drives including 985 of the most extreme kind.

Georgina Buckley, prosecuting at Swansea Crown Court, said the images came to light after police executed a search warrant at Craig Lee Roberts’ Swansea home in April last year. Present at the Brynhyfryd address were the defendant, his partner – now his ex-partner – and members of his family.

The court heard that officers found Roberts in his bedroom and when they told him why they were there he said they would find what they were looking for on his phone.

A phone and two computer hard drives were seized and when they were examined a total of 8,148 indecent images were found including 985 Category A images which show the most extreme kinds of sexual abuse and rape. A check of 29-year-old Roberts’ internet history showed he had actively searched for such material.

The prosecutor said the defendant largely gave “no comment” replies to questions in his first police interview but in his second interview – conducted after his devices had been examined – he gave officers a prepared statement in which he said he had sought help for his internet use immediately after his arrest.

Roberts, now of Trawler Road, Swansea Marina, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of categories A, B, and C when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

Judge Paul Thomas QC told Roberts that no decent person could view the images he had downloaded and feel anything other than disgust and revulsion – yet he had derived sexual pleasure from them.

He told the defendant that because of people like him children somewhere in the world were being sexual abused in a way that would have life-long effects. The judge said: “People like you fuel this evil trade.”

Judge Thomas said following the guidelines and allowing for the required one-third discount for his guilty pleas the appropriate sentence was one of 16 months in prison – the only question for the court was whether that sentence had to be served immediately.

He said given the efforts Roberts had already made in addressing his behaviour there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in his case and therefore the sentence could be suspended.

Roberts was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years and must complete a community sex offenders course and a rehabilitation course and do 150 hours of unpaid work.

He will be a registered sex offender for the next 10 years and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order to control his access to the internet for the same length of time.