September 2009

Judge ‘sickened’ by teenager’s stash of child abuse pics

A JUDGE said he was sickened by indecent pictures of children hoarded by a teenager on his computer.

Judge Andrew Hamilton was speaking at the sentencing of Ashley Richardson, who is now aged 20

He looked at the bundle of photographs on his desk and then put them down, telling Derby Crown Court: “I feel rather sick”.

The court heard how the 1,284 images and videos included some of the worst category of indecency.

Stephen James, prosecuting, said the pictures were discovered by Richardson’s friends.

Mr James said: “One was searching the internet at his home and went to the recent history where he discovered sites for ‘child porn’ and ‘nude kids’.

“He challenged the defendant at the time and said, ‘what’s going on?’ He (Richardson) told him a mutual friend had downloaded them and he intended to get rid of the images.”

But, the court heard, a few days later, Richardson admitted to his friend that it was he who had downloaded the pictures and asked for help.

Mr James said the friend felt unable to assist and when he went back to Richardson’s a few days later, he saw that the images were still there.

Police were informed by staff at the school which the teenagers attended.

When Richardson was arrested on June 9 last year, he said to the police: “I have ruined my life, haven’t I?”

When police searched his home, they found that he had been downloading indecent images for just over a year.

The majority of the pictures and videos, 965, were of category one, the lowest level of indecency. There were 15 category two images, 101 of category three, 143 of category four and 24 of category five.

Richardson, of Hartington Street, Derby, admitted downloading and possessing indecent images of children when he was 17 and 18 years old.

Dominic Shelley, in mitigation, said: ” Due to a poor childhood, he suffered in his education. He has now taken himself to college and re-sitting English, maths and art.

“This young man is trying to work out why it was he was offending in the way he did.”

Sentencing Richardson to a three-year community order, Judge Hamilton said: “Some of these photographs are absolutely disgusting.

“You said when you were arrested, ‘I’ve ruined my life’, but I wonder if you really thought about the people who appear in the pictures. Their lives have been ruined. Not directly by you, but by people like you looking at these pictures and getting enjoyment from them.”

He said he believed that because Richardson was so young, it was possible that, with help, he could grow out of this behaviour.

He ordered Richardson to attend the NSPCC Dove Project, which works with child sex offenders.

Under a sexual offenders’ prevention order, Richardson must not use the internet for three years, must not seek the company or work with anyone under the age of 18 for 10 years and must register his address with police for five years.