Paignton man sent on sex offender treatment programme
A 34-year-old man must attend a sex offender treatment programme after being convicted of downloading images of child abuse.
Lee Bennett , of Kinghurst Drive, Paignton, was was caught with dozens of images of children on his phone when police raided his home in November 2020.
He initially denied any sexual interest in children. But he admitted three offences of making or downloading indecent images when he appeared at court.
Bennett was spared jail after he was assessed as being a good prospect of rehabilitation. He was given an eight-month suspended sentence with a requirement to complete the Horizon sex offender treatment programme.
Prosecutor Mr Felicity Payne said 13 images depicting the most series kind of child abuse were found when police executed the warrant and analysed his device. Some of the children being abuse were as young as five or six.
Bennett’s internet search history also revealed an interest in children. The offences cover a period of more than two years, said Ms Payne. Ms Rachel Smith, defending, said Bennett had started out looking at adult pornography.
Judge David Evans said the sentence should have been decided by magistrates rather than being sent to crown court due to the relatively small number of images.
“This is one course of offending over a period of two years,” he said. Delays in the case had been caused by the amount of time it took to analyse the device.
Bennett’s sentence was suspended for 18 months. As well as completing the course he must also do 30 rehabilitation days with probation. Bennett was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order limiting his online activity.