Jan 2007

Child porn picture man spared prison

A loner who downloaded child porn at an internet cafe has been spared jail.

Anthony Gould, 38, was caught out after concerned staff at Rogue Asylum, in Southchurch Road, Southend, discovered he was searching the net for illegal images of children.

Gould was arrested outside the cafe on January 12 last year and, as he was being taken into custody, he told officers: “I have been on a couple of sites, but it was by accident.”

He also told another officer: “I am guilty, I am guilty. I have been downloading women and others.”

When his home in Station Road, Westcliff, was searched and computer equipment seized, police found almost 4,000 images of children being abused.

The defendant, who later pleaded guilty to 19 counts of possessing indecent images of children and three counts of making indecent images of children, had also printed out and laminated three pictures of child porn.

In a police interview, Gould told officers he looked up the photos as part of research he was carrying out and he was planning to hand over his findings to police.

At Basildon Crown Court, Judge Christopher Mitchell sentenced Gould to a three-year community order with a requirement he attends the Thames Valley Sexual Offenders’ Programme.

Judge Mitchell told Gould: “It may seem to a bystander that this is a very lenient sentence that I am passing, but it is not.

“I have considered whether you pose a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public and I have come to the conclusion that you do not. But there is a slightly worrying tendency that your interest in simply looking at sexual pictures of children, and some of the children are very very young, might turn into something more specific and concrete.

“That is why I think the most appropriate course is to pass a community sentence.”

Gould was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register and banned from having access to the internet or being alone with any child under 16 for the next five years.