Oct 2005

Rail guard downloaded explicit child images

A 48-year-old man who downloaded more than 3,000 sexually explicit images of children has been jailed for two years.

When arrested, railway guard Paul Baker told police that he had been monitoring the websites, intending to pass on the information to them.

Such was his knowledge, Maidstone Crown Court heard, he knew most of the site names off by heart.

But he panicked once his collection grew so vast and he said he did not go to the police because he thought they would not believe him.

In fact, matters only came to light when staff at a building society in Gillingham noticed a customer – Baker – had dropped a piece of paper which contained a hand-written list of websites relating to indecent images of children.

The court heard that police also received a tip-off that two e-mail addresses, traceable to Baker, were being used to access such websites.

Despite Baker’s failure to inform the police, the court was told that the subsequent investigation had led to two young victims being traced to Germany and saved from further abuse.

Baker, of Canterbury Street, Gillingham, admitted 20 offences of making indecent images of a child between March, 1998 and June, 2005.

A total of 3,411 pictures were found on his laptop, as well as five printed pictures of young, pre-teen naked girls.

But while being arrested Baker proclaimed that he was not a pervert. “I just like looking,” he told officers.

Ian Foinette, prosecuting, said: “The defendant said he had not paid for access to most of these websites and so thought if he did not pay for them there was nothing wrong with them.”

The images were described as ranging from level one to five, with five being the most serious.

“He told police he just kept collecting them, thinking they were not doing anybody any harm,” said Mr Foinette.

Baker even went so far as to described himself as “a great advocate” for stopping such websites.

Caroline Knight, defending, said Baker, who trained as a nurse in the armed forces, had not distributed the images nor made any financial gain.

She added he was terrified of going to prison and expected to be disowned by his elderly father. He has also been suspended from his job.

Jailing Baker for a total of two years, Judge Philip Statman said he was “a hair’s breadth” away from receiving an indeterminate prison sentence.

Baker was also made subject to an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order, banning him from owning or using computer equipment and being in the company of children under 16.

He was also disqualified indefinitely from working with children and must sign on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.