May 2022

Extreme child sexual abuse images user escapes prison term

A paedophile from South Yorkshire who accessed vile child sexual abuse images at the most extreme level showing rape, torture and severe injuries has been spared a jail sentence.

Lorry driver Neil Copnell (51), of Rosebery Street, Holmes, admitted two counts of possessing indecent images of children and three counts of making indecent images when he appeared before Sheffield Crown Court.

On 20 May 2021 officers attended Copnell’s home and arrested him. Following his arrest, officers and the specialised Digital Forensics Team carried out searches of his devices.

The searches revealed images and videos dating back from 2004 until 2021. Over 16,000 indecent images were found and 353 videos involving children as young as four years old.

Copnell was charged with making category A, B, C images, possession of prohibited images, possession of extreme image, and possession of B and C videos. He pleaded guilty to all charges on 22 April 2022.

Copnell was also charged with, and admitted, possessing extreme pornography portraying severe injuries and possessing prohibited images of children.

He was sentenced to a two-year community order under which he must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and take part in 43 sexual offenders treatment days and 55 rehabilitation days.

The images and the devices on which they were found will be destroyed, while Copnell was ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for five years.