June 2022

Sheffield man with ‘perverted sexual interest in children’ downloaded child abuse images of babies

A Sheffield man who downloaded child abuse content involving babies has walked away from court with a community order.

As she sentenced David Smith, Judge Sarah Wright told the 42-year-old that those who view such ‘dreadful’ images and videos help to fuel a trade created through the sexual exploitation of very vulnerable children.

“By being a consumer of this dreadful material… you promote the commission of very serious and damaging offences by others,” said Judge Wright.

During a hearing held on June 10, 2022, prosecutor Gurdial Singh told Sheffield Crown Court how police raided Smith’s home on February 19, 2019 while he was out, and police seized a ‘tower’ computer and three external hard drives from his bedroom.

Smith, of Armstead Road, Beighton, was subsequently arrested at his workplace.

Following analysis by police, Smith’s devices were found to contain over 100 indecent images of children aged between one and 14-years-old, with 104 of Category A – the most severe of the legal categories – along with 29 indecent images of Category B; 18 indecent Category C images and 212 images categorised as ‘extreme pornograpy’.

Judge Wright noted that some of the images found on Smith’s devices involved the abuse of ‘babies and very young children indeed’.

In police interview, Smith, who lives with his parents, confirmed that he was the only one with access to his devices, but added that he bought one of his external hard drives from a second-hand shop and suggested the indecent images may have been left on there by its previous owner.

Mr Singh said police checked with the manager of the second-hand shop who confirmed that all devices are cleared before sale, and the prosecutor added that the files were also downloaded after the purchase date.

Smith eventually acknowledged his wrongdoing and on the date of his trial pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children, with each of the counts relating to the different classification of the images found on his devices, and to one count of possessing extreme pornography.

Judge Wright said the indecent images of children viewed by Smith suggests he had a ‘perverted sexual interest in children’, but added that the fact he has begun to ‘address his offending, and the reasons for it’ implies there is a ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’

She sentenced Smith to a 24-month community order, with a requirement to complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and ordered him to pay £1,500 costs.

Judge Wright also made Smith the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for the same period.