AN internet porn addict who was found to have more than 650 indecent images of children on his computer has been spared jail in what a judge described as a “mercy” sentence.
Former fitness instructor Amir Gilboa, of Nether Street, Finchley, was given a three month suspended sentence at Wood Green Crown Court yesterday.
The 36-year-old had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to downloading the files which included images and videos of children as young as seven.
The court heard how police raided the home of Gilboa and his wife, which they were sharing with others, last September. Officers discovered the 676 images on his personal computer and recorded them as levels one to five on the police scale of severity.
More than 450 images were level one, regarded as the least serious in terms of child pornography, although 89 were levels four and five.
Prosecuting barrister Lynn Fanshawe said it was agreed the images were not for distribution or gain, but only for the personal gratification of Gilboa.
She told the court the files were downloaded free from file sharing websites between April and September last year.
When he was arrested, he initially said a friend had downloaded them but admitted knowing they were on the computer. He later changed his account to say the friend had only stored the first few images, Ms Fanshawe said.
In defence, Jonathan Goldberg QC said Gilboa was an excellent son and caring brother, which made his behaviour seem even more “bizarre”.
Mr Goldberg said: “His friend was the first one who did it but he knew what he had done and carried on with it.
“The features here are very unusual and he doesn’t show the profile associated with this type of offence.
“He assures me he has no real sexual interest in young people and has never lusted after children in the street.
“He doesn’t fantasise let alone masturbate over children.”
Dressed smartly in a suit and tie, a cleanly shaven Gilboa spoke only to confirm his name to the court. He sat in the dock and sobbed, wiping away tears with a tissue, as evidence was read out to the court.
His wife and family were in the public gallery to hear how he had fallen into financial difficulties and become depressed after his work as a personal trainer at the David Lloyd centre had dried up. The couple had also racked up debts of £23,000.
Mr Goldberg QC said: “The result of this was he was looking for escapism and comfort through pornography.
“His wife was out working and he was on shift work which left him free to view the images.
“Idle hands make the devils work.
“He has explained that he was very depressed because of not having enough work and essentially he was curious, looking to see what was out there and basically had too much time with nothing to do with it, and that’s why he turned to the pornography.
“At the end of the day it was a virtual world that he was living in and not children that we can identify.”
He added that Gilboa, a former student at Middlesex University who he described as “a good looking young man who has had a lot of girlfriends”, also visited adult porn websites while on his own.
His Honour Judge Francis Sheridan, said the use of the images over a six month period indicated a problem that needed addressing as well as an “unhealthy interest”.
He sentenced Gilboa to a three month sentence, suspended for two years and ordered him to attend an internet users treatment programme.
Judge Sheridan also handed down a sexual offences prevention order meaning Gilboa cannot work or be around children unsupervised for five years, during which time he will have to sign on to the sex offenders register.
Judge Sheridan said: “Every child in these images is a victim “If there wasn’t people doing this the manufactures wouldn’t have a market. Vile is insufficient to describe the images I have seen.
“A normal virile man of 36 doesn’t usually have an interest in children under 16.
“This is a serious case because everybody treasures their children and no child should be subjected to such disgraceful abuse.
“This sentence is serious but I am going to suspend them as an act of mercy. If you do not stick to the terms I will guarantee a custodial sentence.”
Addressing Gilboa directly across the court room, he added:“You come from a distinguished family of hard working, decent people.
“What would your grandparents have thought of you robbing those children of their innocence for your own gratification?
“As victims of the holocaust, take a moment to think what they would have made of you.
“The Jewish community is proud of their emphasis on family life and it is little wonder that you have been shamed by the people who know you and liked you.”