November 2009

Internet paedophile is spared prison sentence

ADMITTING possessing more than 1,000 indecent images has spared an internet paedophile from jail.

David Hayes, a 44-year-old freelance television sound recordist, from Salmon Pool Lane, Exeter, was given a three-year community order.

Judge Jeremy Griggs said it was better that Hayes had to attend a long-term course for sex offenders, to address his behaviour, rather than have a short stay in prison.

At Exeter Crown Court, Hayes admitted seven charges of making indecent photographs of children.

He downloaded 1,553 indecent photos of girls between December 2005 and January last year.

Prosecutor Malcolm Galloway said most of the pictures were at level one. There were some at every grade except level five, the worst possible.

Hayes initially tried to deny deliberately downloading the images. He told police he was surfing the web for adult porn of women in their 20s but some unwanted photographs had appeared on his screen.

Devon and Cornwall police’s high-tech crime unit proved he had been paying for access to illegal sites. “He knew the type of websites he was going on to,” said Mr Galloway.

Hayes has denied attempting to pervert the course of justice and the prosecution agreed this charge could lie on file.

The charge alleged that he had blamed police for tampering with his computer to make it appear as if he had downloaded indecent images.

Mr Galloway said the high-tech unit were instead able to prove that the clock had been altered on the defendant’s computer, while it was in his possession.

Painstaking work showed the time had been moved forward. It then seemed as if the indecent images had been downloaded after the police had seized the equipment.

Defence counsel said Hayes began looking at adult porn then got interested in illegal material.

He has no criminal record and wanted to be put on a rehabilitation programme.

Judge Griggs said Hayes must attend a rehabilitation course for internet offenders, as part of his sentence.

He told him: “I am persuaded it is in society’s interest and your interest that you should undergo the programme, rather than a short custodial term.”

The judge also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and told Hayes to put his details on the Sexual Offenders Register, both for five years.

The defendant’s computer equipment which was used to download and store the illegal images has been confiscated.