May 2022

Royal Navy sailor caught with hundreds of vile images of children including ones of infants being raped

A Royal Navy sailor caught with hundreds of vile images of children has avoided jail.

Twisted father-of-two Barry Ferguson, aged 40, downloaded videos of infants being raped or having sex with animals for more than seven years, a court heard.

He spent seven years getting pleasure out of children as young as 18 months being abused, some on films about 20 minutes long. But Ferguson, who is due to leave the Navy soon, walked out of Plymouth Crown Court with a community order.

A judge said that he had no previous convictions, had admitted his guilt and already sought counselling for his problems. Judge WIlliam Mousley added that Ferguson was also a carer for his disabled wife.

A Royal Navy sailor caught with hundreds of vile images of children has avoided jail. Twisted father-of-two Barry Ferguson, aged 40, downloaded videos of infants being raped or having sex with animals for more than seven years, a court heard.

He spent seven years getting pleasure out of children as young as 18 months being abused, some on films about 20 minutes long. But Ferguson, who is due to leave the Navy soon, walked out of Plymouth Crown Court with a community order.

A judge said that he had no previous convictions, had admitted his guilt and already sought counselling for his problems. Judge WIlliam Mousley added that Ferguson was also a carer for his disabled wife.

He said: “Images include moving images and feature particularly young children and also children suffering visible pain and distress.

“Factors reducing the sentence is that there are no previous convictions, you have cooperated with the police from the word go, even before the devices were properly examined. You have already made significant efforts to address your criminal behaviour.

“I consider you could be dealt with more constructively by a community order requiring that you attend an accredited programme.”

The judge said that Ferguson had sought help from a charity which helps internet sex offenders tackle their habits.

Ferguson was handed a three-year community order with a sex offender treatment programme and probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement supervision course. He was also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of 1,200.

Barry John Michael Ferguson, of West Down Road, Beacon Park, pleaded guilty to three counts of making or downloading indecent images of children between October 2015 and May 2021.

He had 332 images, including more than 300 films, in the most severe Category A, showing children being sexually abused. He had 13 images in Category B and two in Category C.

Piers Norsworthy, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police executed a search warrant at his home on June 2 last year after being told of indecent images linked to his IP address. He added that the images were discovered on his laptop and a computer hard drive.

Mr Norsworthy said that the defendant confessed to looking at indecent child images for seven or eight years, starting after the break-up of his first marriage. He read graphic descriptions of the content of some of the worst videos, including some 13, 18 and 25 minutes long.

They included children between 18 months and four years being sexually abused. The barrister said that Ferguson’s search history showed that he had been searching for vile child images.

Judge Mousley ordered the forfeiture of the laptop and hard drive. Ferguson was handed a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will allow police to monitor his internet use and will be on the Sex Offender Register for the same period.