August 2023

Ageing Leeds paedophile spent 20 years downloading sick abuse images because he was ‘bored’

An ageing Leeds paedophile who spent 20 years downloading sick images of child abuse claimed it was because of boredom rather than sexual satisfaction.

Paul Smith was found to have more than 1,000 images on devices, with some dating back as far as October 2002. The last was downloaded just a week before his arrest on June 9 of last year, Leeds Crown Court was told.

But the judge described his version of events as “fanciful”, after Smith told police he had no sexual interest in children.

The 66-year-old was caught after police, acting on intelligence, attended his Cookridge Avenue home in Cookridge.

They seized a Samsung phone, a Kindle and a Compaq laptop. They found 55 Category A pictures – the most serious kind – and one Category A video. There were also 75 images and one video in Category B, and 1,068 pictures and one video in Category C .

He was interviewed by police twice, first on the day of his arrest in which he denied the offending. He was then bailed and interviewed again on December 15 last year when he accepted he was responsible for them being on his devices.

He claimed he downloaded them for around five years, saying he was bored and gained no sexual gratification. He claimed he simply would look at them and then delete them.

Judge Rodney Jameson KC told Smith: “You have, over a lengthy period of time, downloaded indecent images of children. You had to the good sense to admit it. You have largely been frank about it all, but I’m a little concerned from the pre-sentence report that although you accept downloading the images, you are not prepared to accept there is a sexual element to this.

“Plainly, there must have been, anything else is fanciful.”

He handed him a 12-month community order with 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days with 160 hour of unpaid work to complete.

He was also put non the sex offender register for five years and given a a five year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) which will serve to limit his internet use, and will be ordered to make his internet devices available for inspection by a police safeguarding unit.