A disabled Rugby man who downloaded indecent movies of children has escaped being jailed – after his case took almost two years to come to court.
Clive Holden appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image.
Holden (45) of Berrybanks, Rugby, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, and was ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano, who said Holden had had ‘a lengthy wait,’ also ordered him to pay £345 costs and to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Prosecutor Dean Easthope said Holden’s offending came to light as long ago as March 2016 when Rugby police received information about his internet use.
Holden was at work when officers then executed a search warrant in May that year, but they were let in by his partner who then contacted him.
Holden, who is in a wheelchair as a result of an accident when he was in his 20s, returned while the police were still at the address, and was arrested after they had seized his phone and computer.
There was nothing illegal on the computer, but on his phone hi-tech officers found 230 indecent images of children, although they had been deleted and could not be accessed by him.
They included 36 stills and nine movies classed as being in category A, showing children as young as six or seven.
As well as other images of children in the two less serious categories, there was one extreme pornographic image of a man having sex with a dog.
When he was interviewed, Holden said he had ‘perhaps swapped some pictures’ with someone under 18.
He said he had communicated with girls he thought were 18 or over, but that it became apparent they were actually 15, and he exchanged images with them.
But Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed that there was no charge in relation to those activities, even though they were ‘much more serious offences.’
Martin Liddiard, defending, said the images which were subject to the charges Holden had admitted had ‘dropped on three occasions’ over a two-month period.
“The images, 230 in number, had been deleted, but were recoverable by the police,” he pointed out.
He said Holden had been in work for a number of years, despite his disability, and has a long-term partner, for whom ‘it has been a difficult time,’ but they are due to marry.
And referring to a pre-sentence report, Mr Liddiard added: “He is a man who is deemed suitable for rehabilitation.”
Sentencing Holden, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You are here because of something that happened really quite a long time ago.
“It really shouldn’t take cases two years to get to this stage, particularly when someone has been upfront from the start.
“What I suspect you didn’t realise at the time is that you were committing really serious offences. These pictures you looked at are all real children who are really being abused.
“These images are made for a market, and if you become one of those people, you are contributing to the abuse of those children. It is made worse by the age of the children and that it includes moving images.”
But of her decision to suspend the sentence, she added: “I accept this happened over a very short period of time and there was no storing of the images; and secondly, you have had a lengthy wait.”