September 2021

Bus driver spared jail for sex abuse photos as own family slam ‘joke’ sentence

A school bus driver who possessed more than 540,000 sex abuse images has avoided jail in a ruling his family slammed as a ‘joke’.

Steven Knight, 48, of Bredon, Worcestershire, has been disowned by relatives over his ‘abhorrent’ crimes.

They hit out after a judge gave him a suspended sentence because ‘no meaningful rehabilitation’ is currently happening in prisons.

Sitting in the public gallery at Worcester Crown Court, Knight’s relatives heard how he also had secretly taken photos of schoolchildren who were on a bus he was driving.

He also doctored a woman’s Facebook profile picture of her with her baby to show him lying naked next to the pair.

Knight admitted downloading a total of 541,835 sick pictures and videos between July 2015 and October last year.

Of these, 85 videos and 267 images were classified as the most serious category A content, with some showing ‘babies in extreme discomfort’ being abused or tortured

Others were of extreme animal pornography and youngsters in their underwear.

Prosecuting, Siobhan Collins said: ‘He explained he collected the said material because he found it erotic.

‘This began when his computer was hacked and he was exposed to such content. He said he had this material for his own pleasure and agreed he could properly be described as a paedophile (based on his interest in these images).’

Judge Martin Jackson said Covid-19 restrictions in prisons meant inmates were locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.

He said: ‘I have to sentence you for a series of offences many people – indeed I think any decent right-thinking person – would consider to be disgusting and abhorrent.

‘Immediate custody at the moment is something that would achieve punishment but is unlikely to achieve rehabilitation.

‘No meaningful rehabilitation is being done (with prisoners) if it can be done at all.’

Knight was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.

He was made to sign the sex offenders’ register, ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and a 45-day rehabilitation activity and told to pay £300 in court costs.

Following Thursday’s sentencing, members of Knight’s own family broke down in tears and said he should have been jailed.

One close relative, who has disowned him, said: ‘The sentence is a joke.

‘I’m not happy about it. He should have gone down. You can’t rehabilitate people like that.’

A sibling who also attended court said: ‘I was in tears. Too much came out in court.

‘You can see the smirk on his face. When is Covid going to stop being an excuse for not sending people to jail?’