May 2011

Two years in prison for St Austell child abuse images loner 

A LONER has been jailed after admitting a series of offences including distributing indecent images of children.

Gareth Hill, aged 30, of Trevarthian Road, St Austell, was sentenced to two years in prison at Truro Crown Court on Thursday, after earlier pleading guilty to 16 charges of making and possessing indecent images of children and four of distributing them between July 2007 and June 2010.

He had 559 indecent images.

Detective Constable Eileen Hattem from the Child Exploitation and Online Investigation team, said: “The sentence reflects the seriousness of the offences.”

The court heard Hill had medical problems and lived “a very lonely life”.

Iain White, for the prosecution, said officers executed search warrants at Hill’s home and his mother’s on June 29 last year, seizing two computer towers and two memory sticks.

Hill admitted using various websites, downloading images he liked and sending some to other people, as well as receiving images.

Mr White said there were 559 indecent photographs, 132 at Level 4, the second most serious category. Hill had e-mailed at least 51, including 11 at Level 4, to three addresses.

Maurice Champion, for the defence, said Hill lacked the ability to form relationships.

His only previous conviction was for excess alcohol.

Judge Christopher Elwen told Hill the long-term impact on the children involved could never be known. “You may not have directly harmed anyone but the indirect effects of your activities are very considerable,” he said.

Judge Elwen imposed an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order. Hill must also sign the sex offenders’ register for the next ten years.

Steve Double, Cornwall councillor for the Poltair ward, said: “When issues such as this come to light it makes us all realise as parents that sadly there are people around who want to harm our children in this way.

“I’m delighted he has received a jail sentence and has therefore been removed from our community.

“Thankfully cases like this are relatively rare in Cornwall, but it should still act as a warning to all parents that we need to be vigilant in protecting our children.”

Last month the Cornish Guardian reported on the relief felt by Gareth Hill, aged 29, of Avondale, Carn Grey, after the sex offender who shared his name admitted his guilt.

The innocent father’s life was made a misery when some people wrongly assumed he was connected to the case.

Now Mr Hill can finally put the case of mistaken identity behind him.