October 2011

Music teacher shared images of child abuse

A STEEL band leader who shared thousands of “hideous” images of child abuse, including rape and torture, with other paedophiles via the internet, has been jailed.

Benedict Leo Everett, 36, known as Leo, had more than 7,000 images and videos stored on a computer and memory sticks at his home in Lamorna.

Some of the images were found on a memory stick hidden inside a lampshade discovered by people living at the address after his arrest in October last year.

Everett, a well-known school music teacher and musical director of St Just band Hammered Steel, was jailed for nine months by a judge at Truro Crown Court.

The court was told he lived in an online “fantasy world” sharing sick images, videos and twisted ideas with other paedophiles.

Police traced him via information collected from a paedophile arrested in the north of England. When they raided Everett’s home, they also found a carrier bag full of women’s underwear he had stolen from local people’s washing lines.

Judge Barry Cotter, QC, sentencing Everett, told him that even though he had not directly abused children, they had been abused to satisfy the “international market” in child porn.

“The stark reality faced by this court is that you had a large amount of very offensive material,” he said.

“Children of tender years have been abused to create such images. Given the amount of images, you can only have spent many hours collecting such material. It is clear in your case there is not a large amount but a very large amount [of images].”

The court heard that 320 images were found which were at level 5, the highest in terms of seriousness on the five-point scale used to rank child abuse images. A further 1,107 images and videos were classified as level 4. Everett admitted 19 charges of making and possessing child pornography and one charge of theft at a hearing in August this year.

Philip Lee, for the prosecution, said: “He explained to the police that he had been in the habit of sharing images with other like-minded individuals on websites using file-sharing facilities.

“He had begun some years ago an interest in porn which had developed to the point where, using the internet, he had sought more and more shocking images.”

He added that Everett’s work with the band, which was originally formed by his father Chris, had seen him work alongside young people and teach at various schools across Cornwall, although there was no suggestion made in court that any images related to pupils at the schools.

Jeremy Leaning, for the defence, said his client had admitted his crimes with “absolute frankness” immediately when police arrested him on October 26 last year. He said Everett was receiving treatment and argued that a prison sentence would be “counterproductive. This is a man motivated and determined to rebuild his life without sight of these hideous images,” he said.