September 2008

Engineer jailed for child porn

A TORRINGTON engineer who developed an obsession with child pornography was unmasked by a worldwide law enforcement operation.

Vigilance by the Austrian authorities alerted British child protection teams to the activities of 55-year-old Peter Oversby.

His e-mail address showed up on a website they were investigating.

Exeter Crown Court heard that when police seized computer equipment and discs from Oversby’s home they found more than 750 pictures and movies of child pornography covering all five categories of seriousness.

Some of the images were on memory sticks downloaded from his computer and others were on a laptop seized in the raid.

At first Oversby claimed that it was just curiosity which had led him to download the pictures but he later admitted it became an obsession.

The defendant committed the offences over a seven year period and was downloading images shortly before police raided his home.

Among the items seized by police were computer cleansing programmes designed to make it difficult to discover what was on the machines.

The court heard that one of the movies was nearly an hour long. The images ranged from erotic poses to child sex and bestiality.

Oversby of New Street, Torrington pleaded guilty to 15 charges of making indecent images of children and one roll up charge of possessing the indecent images.

Mitigating Paul Bitmead said the activities indulged in by Oversby were vulgar and disgraceful and he was utterly ashamed that he had accessed and downloaded the material. He was a socially isolated and lonely figure who used his computer as a window on the world and that had given him access to the pornographic sites.

Mr Bitmead said Oversby had expected to be rejected by his family but while they were shocked and horrified at what he had done they were standing by him.

Jailing Oversby for eight months Judge Stephen Wildblood QC told him: “Most members of society regard such activities as abhorrent and if it were not for people like you children would not be abused to provide such images. There must be a deterrent factor in sentencing so the message goes out loud and clear that this type of material is highly damaging and people who are caught will be punished. However I take into account the profound shame and humiliation to you and the pain to those near you which is a huge punishment in itself.”

In addition to the prison term Oversby was banned from working with children and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.