December 2008

Naturist jailed for owning child sex images

A Bedfordshire naturist who was caught with over 16,000 child sex abuse images has bee jailed for 12 months.

David Bland, 49, told the police that when he looked at the pictures and movies he downloaded they were no different from when he saw naked children on a naturist beach.

Officers had raided his home in February 2008 after Metropolitan Police officers in London found he had used his credit card to access illegal sites.

The address in Almers Close, Houghton Conquest, near Bedford was searched. Images of children were found on a computer drive and had also been copied onto CDs and DVDs, Luton Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Natalie Carter said the images had been downloaded on 20 occasions between March 2006 and the beginning of 2008.

There were 15,432 still images at Level One, the lowest level in terms of seriousness, 132 at Level Two, 292 at Level Three, 388 at Level Four and six at Level Five. Twenty-five Level One and seven Level Two stills had been deleted.

In addition there were 58 movies at Level One, 22 at Level Two, 17 at Level Three, 122 at Level Four and nine at Level Five. One movie at Level One had been deleted.

Mrs Carter said that when the police interviewed Bland he told them he was a naturist. 

“He said it was like being on a naturist beach where you would see naked children.” 

He said he had no sexual interest in children and told how looking at the images was “pure naturism,” she said.

Bland appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to 22 charges of making indecent photographs of children and one charge of possession.

Defence barrister Anna Faul asked for credit for Bland’s early guilty plea. She said most of the images were at Level One. 

Bland had suffered from depression and was extremely lonely and depressed, but he was being supported by his family, she said.

Jailing him, Judge Richard Foster said: “What you have to realise is that the victims are real children who have been forced to go through torture and suffering. The children have suffered terrible experiences for the perverted sexual gratification of the likes of you.”

The judge also passed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, banning Bland being in unsupervised contact with children, working with children or having photographs of a child under 16. He must also allow the police access to his computer at any time. 

He was banned from working with children for life and must be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years. The computer and discs are to be destroyed