Jan 2008

Child porn addict is spared prison

A GRANDFATHER addicted to child porn has walked free from court despite having downloaded thousands of sick internet pictures.

Paul Hale, 55, admitted he had been downloading images of children being sexually abused for three years after police raided his home in Downham Road, Canvey, and seized his computer equipment.

More than 2,300 images – 300 of which were deemed to be of levels four and five, the most serious kind – were discovered on his computer and on disks.

Hale admitted to police he knew what he was doing was illegal. At Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Judge Christopher Mitchell sentenced Hale to a three-year community order with a requirement that he attends a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

Judge Mitchell told Hale: “Some of the images were of the most serious nature. I accept, as has been drawn to my attention, you did not have a large amount of level four and five pictures.

“But you did have 2,340-odd images. It is a considerable amount and there is such a range of ages. The ages range from really quite young to teenage children, both boys and girls.

“It is quite clear that you became addicted once your curiosity led you to seek out this material on the internet. You became addicted to downloading these images.”

Judge Mitchell also told Hale he must comply with a sexual offences prevention order, which will last for five years.

He is banned from accessing, viewing or downloading im-ages from child or adult porn sites, accessing any internet chatroom, and he must allow any police officer who calls at his home to monitor his computer.

Hale, who pleaded guilty to 11 charges of possessing indecent images of a child at an earlier hearing, was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register for five years and pay £772 costs. The court also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the computer equipment seized.