March 2009

No prison term for paedophile caught with indecent pics

A PAEDOPHILE has avoided a jail sentence despite having 771 indecent images of children on his computer hard drive.

Christopher Massingham pleaded guilty to seven out of 12 charges of either making or possessing indecent images of children relating to pictures found by police on his computer, MP4 player and CDs.

The 41-year-old was sentenced to 200 hours of community service after Recorder William Coker QC said the images were the lowest category of seriousness and did not warrant a custodial sentence.

Recorder Coker said: “These were erotic images of children but involved no sexual activity.”

Derby Crown Court heard that Massingham, of Dundee Road, Swadlincote, initially denied having any knowledge of the images and blamed other people.

Stephen James, prosecuting, said Massingham was arrested in November 2007 but it was not until three days before his trial was due to start, on February 16 this year, that he pleaded guilty to seven of the 12 charges.

He said 771 images were found on the computer’s hard drive, with 492 images discovered in seven folders on a CD and 509 on the MP4 player.

Mr James said many of the images on the media items were duplicates of images found on the computer and the exact number of indecent images Massingham had possessed was unknown.

Stuart Newsam, in mitigation, said the offending resulted from a period of Massingham’s life that he “deeply regrets” and he was “highly motivated” to address these issues.

“This offending was born out of the use of adult pornography that led to something else,” said Mr Newsam.

“He feels, perhaps with some realism, that his lifestyle at the time and the relationship he was in was over-experimental and unhealthy.”

Recorder Coker told Massingham that he had “only just” avoided a jail term and that he faced a “very long” spell in prison should he be found to be in possession of images that were of a more serious nature.

He said: “The images ranged from quite young children – certainly under the age of 10 – to adolescent children in a range of poses and a range of states of dress.

“They were all of a sexual nature and I am sure you collected them and viewed them.”

Recorder Coker ordered Massingham to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years and imposed a seven–year prevention order on him in a bid to protect the public from serious sexual harm.

A jury could not reach a verdict on the remaining five counts of which Massingham was accused and Recorder Coker said these counts would now remain on file.