A 61-YEAR-OLD man from St Albans who admitted downloading images of children being sexually abused by adults has escaped a prison sentence.
Michael Horlick, of Queens Court, Hatfield Road, pleaded guilty to possessing 55 images of child pornography, ranging from levels one to four, with five being the most graphic.
Among the files were six images at level four, four at level three and four at level one, some depicting girls who appeared to be as young as five and of eastern origin being sexually abused by adults.
St Albans Crown Court heard on Friday how Horlick was caught after a folder containing the images was discovered by an IT worker repairing his computer.
George Heimler, prosecuting, said the defendant initially denied all knowledge of the material claiming a friend had borrowed his PC before it had gone to be repaired.
But Horlick later admitted to the offences when police presented him with proof that nude children had been entered into a search engine on his computer.
Horlick was also cautioned in 2007 for possessing images of children and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
In pleas of mitigation, Horlick’s lawyer, Khalid Khan, said his client had not received any help on the previous occasion to overcome his problem and that he suffered from ill health after recently suffering a stroke.
Handing Horlick a supervision requirement for three years and banning him from working with children, Judge Colston said: “People who download material of this kind think they are not causing damage to the children involved but that is a wholly misguided view.
“People who download pornography of this kind increase the demand for it and so give the people who produce the images the incentive to abuse more children.”
Horlick was also ordered to complete a sexual offender treatment programme and will remain on the sex offenders’ register for five years.
He was also given a sexual offenders prevention order banning him from owning a computer, or other equipment capable of storing, receiving or transmitting an image, without permitting monitory officers to enter the premises where they are kept. He was also banned from owning software that could delete his internet browsing history.