Child porn found on second-hand iPhone left at Cash Generators in Rugby

Warwick Crown Court
Warwick Crown Court
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A woman working at a pawnbrokers was horrified as she prepared for sale an iPhone, which had not been redeemed and discovered child porn images on it.

The police were contacted, and it was found that phone owner Ricky Mullin had also been posing as a female agent to get teenage models to send him images of themselves.

Mullin, 41, of Murray Road, Rugby, was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of making indecent images of children.

Prosecutor Blondel Thompson said that towards the end of 2014 Mullin deposited his iPhone at the Cash Generators shop in Rugby, and later redeemed it.

He deposited it again in January last year, and after failing to redeem it by April, a staff member began to prepare the phone to be sold – and came across indecent images of children.

The police were contacted, but when he was arrested Mullin denied any knowledge of the images.

The phone was examined, and the police found 15 indecent images of children, of which two were classed as being in category A, the most serious category.

Three were in category B and ten were category C.

But Miss Thompson pointed out there were also more than 100 ‘indicative images’ of females whose ages could not be determined.

There were also messages, and when Mullin was interviewed again he admitted he had posed as a female agent for teenage models and had been sent pictures by would-be models.

Miss Thompson pointed out it was not known whether any of those were among the indecent images to which the charges related.

Although he admitted downloading the images, Mullin denied his motive was sexual, claiming he was ‘a lonely 40-year-old’ who found it easier to talk to teenage girls online.

Daniel Oscroft, defending, said: “At the time of these offences the defendant was a heavy user of crack cocaine. He had been introduced to it by his former partner.”

Referring to a pre-sentence report, he said there were ‘some disturbing aspects’ to that relationship, and Judge Andrew Lockhart QC observed: “This was a highly sexualised house that he remained in.”

Mr Oscroft said Mullin, who has now stopped using crack, accepts there was a sexual motivation for what he did.”

And arguing for a suspended sentence or a community order with a sex offenders’ programme, Mr Oscroft added: “He is someone who is capable of redemption and will not pose an ongoing threat to children.”

But jailing Mullin and ordering him to register as a sex offender for ten years, Judge Lockhart told him: “Between November 2014 and March 2015 you were making indecent photographs of children by downloading them.

“You deposited your phone at Cash Generators where it came up for disposal, and in preparation for that they turned it on, and one of the female employees saw the images I have just seen and was disturbed by them.

“You denied being responsible and made up a story of having it for only a few days and then selling it on.

“In a second interview you admitted downloading indecent images from the internet.

“You deny targeting young girls, but I find that a hard assertion to understand or accept. You had pretended to be a female called Paris or Louise, a model agent, and were getting people to send you images.

“In the light of the proclivity you had, I find that disturbing, but you are not charged with any offence in relation to that.”

Of the indecent images, the judge added: “These are serious offences. Every viewing perpetuates the abuse of those children, who may now be young women. They are abused each time someone like you looks at these images.

“More significantly, you left the images where others could readily view them, and that then happened.”