Stonehouse man, 63, distributed indecent images of children

A 63-year-old Stonehouse man who distributed indecent images of children has been spared an immediate jail sentence at Gloucester Crown Court.

Prosecutor Ieuan Callaghan told the court on September 1 that Paul Huxstep was arrested after Gloucestershire Police received two referrals from the National Crime Agency, which had detected indecent images of children being uploaded from an IP address in Stonehouse.

“The agency stated that the occupant had used a Yahoo email address and accessed the Kik chatroom website on August 6, 2019 and uploaded indecent images of a child to the internet and on August 27, 2019 the same IP address was responsible for uploading further images,” said the prosecutor.

“The first image to be uploaded was a single image of category B and the second set included one category A image, three category B images and one category C image.

“However, Huxstep was not arrested by police at his home address in Brockley Road, Leonard Stanley for almost a year until July 2020 after they had secured a search warrant.

“A number of items were seized including a mobile phone and a tablet device which, after analysis, revealed his internet activity including a Skype chat with a woman from Ghana which appeared to detail the sending of money in exchange for indecent images.

“However no evidence of this transaction was uncovered by police.

“In his police interview Huxstep admitted possessing and uploading the images to the website but denied buying any images of children.”

Judge Ian Lawrie QC commented: “In Huxstep’s pre-sentence report it is reported that he said he had no sexual interest in children. There might be an explanation for one image – but several images tends to be habit forming.”

Huxstep pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent category A and C photographs of a child on August 27, 2019 and between August 5 and August 28, 2019 distributing four indecent images of a child at category B. He also admitted making two category B indecent photographs of a child on August 6, 2019.

Judge Lawrie said: ”These offences are so serious that this court has been considering a custodial term.

“You have betrayed the trust of your wife and your family. You have also betrayed the girls featured in these images.

“What you demonstrate by looking at these images of girls aged around the age of eight is scant regard for the welfare of these children. They will bear the emotional scars of this for the rest of their lives.

“However you have a number of points in your favour when it comes to mitigation. I was impressed by the letter from your wife and that you are of previous good character.

“Other references from those who know you well suggest your offending is out of character.”

“You are a loving and supportive husband are you are the sole carer for her.”

The judge sentenced Huxstep to a one year and eight month prison term, suspended for two years and ordered him to attend 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a monthly judicial review and pay court costs of £425 and a victim surcharge of £149.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the electronic devices, and placed him on the sex offender’s register for 10 years and subjected him to a sexual harm prevention order, limiting his use of the internet, for 10 years.