March 2022

Ex-firefighter with over a million vile images of kids avoids jail

A former firefighter made a stark admission to police after he was found with over a million vile images of children.

Bill Platt’s ‘substantial collection’ included indecent pictures and videos of victims aged from babies to children aged 16.

The 59-year-old was arrested after police learned he was downloading the images and conducted a search of his house.

A court heard how Platt, of Worsley, handed over the PIN codes to his various devices and told officers he had been downloading the images since 1998 and was ‘relieved’.

He has avoided jail after a judge said it would “not accomplish” his “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”

A total of 11 million images were identified, and another million were not checked.

In total there were 12 million images, which was the ‘biggest number’ prosecutor Roger Brown said he had ever come across.

He told Manchester Crown Court: “[Platt] was asked about his computer and he said: “I’m downloading indecent images of children”, and said it had been going on since 1998 and said he was ‘relieved’.

“They confiscated 24 devices. There are so many images it’s been impossible to say which ones have images on – the likelihood is they have.

“There were examinations of the devices, the total number of category A images was 15,690, the total number of category B images was 15,753 and the total number of category C images was 837,729.”

Category A images are said to be the worst type of indecent images, of which there were 1,024 videos. It was said that the police reviewed over 25 million images from the devices.

In his police interview, Platt spoke about the ages of the children in the images depicted to be aged from babies to children aged 16. One video was 21 minutes long.

He had also taken some non-sexual images of children getting onto a bus, which the prosecutor said was a ‘worrying change of tactic’. Officers also found 976 .22 bullets in a box in Platt’s house. He had previously had a gun licence, but gave this up and had left the ammunition in the house.

Platt, Gambleside Close, was said to be a man of previous good character.

Sentencing, Recorder Alex Leach QC said there was an ‘enormous’ number of images that were found.

“This was a substantial collection of sickening images depicting the rape and sexual abuse of children,” he said.

“I am told you have been tackling the root of your offending, that your partner stands by you and the probation service feel they can assist you and that you are a good candidate for rehabilitation.

“I have received a letter from Safer Lives and the probation service who say you do pose a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. A short custodial sentence would not accomplish these aims.”

Platt was handed 20 months imprisonment which was suspended for two years, 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years which includes terms that will ban his from using the internet without informing the police and ban him from downloading any software which hides his internet history.

He must also sign the notification requirements on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.