Feb 2010

Jail for man who had 64,000 child images

A MAN who amassed an estimated 64,000 indecent images of children has been jailed.

Michael Barron, 46, of Long Riding, Basildon, claimed he collected the pictures of youngsters being abused because he was addicted to downloading files.

He denied being sexually attracted to children.

Police raided Barron’s flat in September after they picked up on his activities when he subscribed to a file-sharing website in 2008, Southend Crown Court heard.

Officers found a huge stash of indecent images and films, on his computer and copied on to hundreds of DVDs.

Police were not able to catalogue all the images due to the number of items. The majority of these were level three and below – the worst images are level five.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: “The police estimate that overall there were some 64,000 indecent still images and more than 1,100 indecent moving films.”

In a letter to the police officer leading the case, Barron said he had been abused as a child, but police were not able to establish anything to substantiate this.

In mitigation, Caroline Moonam said: “He is deeply ashamed of his behaviour and deeply regrets it.

“It was the act of downloading and copying things he was addicted to and he had no way, he felt, he could come forward for help for this addiction.”

She added her client had led an isolated and lonely life as a result of the abuse he had suffered.

Barron, a former nursing assistant, admitted ten counts of making indecent images, at a hearing on January 10.

Judge John Lodge said: “This case is so serious that nothing other than an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”

Barron was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment concurrent on each charge and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order.

He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for ten years and is automatically barred from working with children.

A count of distributing indecent material was ordered to lie on file.