May 2022

Convicted paedophile in court again

A multiple offending convicted paedophile has been caught messaging a ‘child’ in an undercover police sting.

Ashley Mark Yard, 38, thought he was messaging a 13-year-old girl called Holly.

He sent a picture of himself and made various sexual references between April 6 and April 8 last year.

Yard was in fact communicating with a police officer who was pretending to be the teenage girl.

Judge Stephen Climie said it was “good fortune rather than design” that no actual child suffered harm as a result of Yard’s “serious” offending.

Yard previously pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Prosecuting, Hannah Williams said the defendant started messaging the ‘girl’ online. The undercover officer wrote in messages that Holly was 13 years old and from Derby.

Ms Williams said the conversation continued with Yard writing that “he wants a long-term relationship” and asking her about what she was wearing.

The communication moved to WhatsApp, where the defendant made references to sexual behaviour and whether the girl would like it.

Officers attended an address in Poole where he was staying at the time in June last year.

He identified himself and he was arrested.

In interview, Yard made full admissions and expressed his remorse, Ms Williams said.

The court heard the defendant was jailed for 18 months in 2010 for a series of convictions relating to making and distributing indecent images of children in 2007 and 2008.

Judge Climie said the appropriate starting point was 15 months’ imprisonment before any reduction due to his guilty plea at an early stage.

He decided against handing the defendant a custodial sentence. He said Yard would have only served a short time behind bars and then not be under supervision.

“The public would be concerned for the future as am I,” said Judge Climie.

After hearing of the defendant’s compliance with the previous 10-year sexual harm prevention order, was made subject to a new indefinite order, which will likely run for the rest of his life.

The judge sentenced Yard, of Cocklands, Charminster, to a three-year community order, which kept him under the “court and probation service’s control for the next three years”.

The defendant was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

August 2010

Charminster paedophile jailed for 18 months

A paedophile who was found to have nearly 200 indecent images of children stored on his computer has been jailed for 18 months.

Ashley Mark Yard, aged 26, of Cocklands, Charminster, appeared at Dorchester Crown Court to be sentenced for 32 charges of either making or distributing indecent images.

Judge Roger Jarvis told Yard: “I have seen some of the images involved and it is plain to me that you have been looking at these images for your own gratification and you are wholly indifferent to the terrible lives which the victims of these sexual acts undergo.

“The other awful thing about these sort of offences is once the images are on the internet they remain there in perpetuity.

“If it were not for people like you who are prepared to look at these images, these children would not be suffering in this way.”

Judge Jarvis imposed a total prison sentence of 18 months for all of the offences, of which Yard will serve half before being released on licence.

Yard will also be placed on the sexual offenders’ register for 10 years and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order was imposed preventing him from contacting anyone under the age of 18 by electronic means for 10 years.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, told the court how Yard’s offending came to light in April 2008 when the defendant’s partner asked her sister to inspect his computer because she thought he was having an affair.

The search unearthed evidence of a conversation with a 15-year-old girl on the instant messaging facility MSN Messenger.

Mr Ellacott said: “There was sexual content in the conversation that had taken place and the information was passed to police.”

He said on April 12, 2008, police attended Yard’s address and seized his computer.

Examination of the computer revealed 193 still images and movies depicting child porn, which were graded between one and five with five being the most serious.

Mr Ellacott said there were 117 still images at level one, 13 images at level two, eight at level three, seven of grade four and a further five grade five images.

The 43 movies broke down into three grade one movies, nine level two, two level three, 11 level four and 18 of the most serious grade five.

The police investigation also uncovered evidence that six of the images, ranging between level one and level five, were sent on to other people.

Anne Brown, mitigating, said Yard admitted the offences even before police had examined his computer and had been fully co-operative during the investigation process.

She said her client had been under considerable strain since his offending came to light more than two years ago but his partner, with whom he had an 18-month old daughter, remained supportive of him.

Ms Brown added: “This is a man who admits he had a problem and needs assistance with it.”