A Rugby bus driver quit his job after 20 years following a police raid on his home which revealed child abuse images on his computer.
Now unemployed, Mark Summerton appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography.
Summerton (aged 43) of Izod Road, Rugby, was given a 12-month community sentence and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation activity for 25 days.
Prosecutor Mark Williams said that in June last year the police executed a warrant at Summerton’s home, where he lived alone, and arrested him on suspicion of having indecent images.
He told them that if there was anything, it would be on his Packard Bell computer tower, which was seized, together with a separate hard drive.
On the computer and the hard drive officers found three movies and seven still images in category A – the most serious category.
There were also eight category B images of girls involved, and 28 further images of children in naked or indecent poses.
In addition, the officers found two images of extreme pornography - a still of an adult male with a dog, and a movie of a woman with a horse.
The majority of the images had been obtained using a peer-to-peer file-sharing website, but when he was interviewed, Summerton ‘exercised his right not to answer questions,’ added Mr Williams.
Jason Pegg, defending, said the offences were ‘entirely out of character’ for Summerton, who had no previous convictions.
“Mr Summerton at the time was a bus driver, and had been in that position for some 20 years. But, having been arrested, he chose to leave that job out of embarrassment and shame for what he had done.
“He is a single man. He had been a regular user of adult pornography, and there came a time when Mr Summerton, using the peer-to-peer platform, came by these indecent images of children.
“He says he didn’t actually search for specific terms, but came across them by going through other people’s search histories. Over the three months of offending he accessed images on ten or so occasions.”
In a pre-sentence report Summerton claimed he looked at the images ‘out of pure curiosity,’ and did not get any sexual gratification from them.
But Mr Pegg said: “He does concede now that there was a degree of sexual motivation. The images were all of young girls, save for the two extreme images.
“He says he just didn’t think of the impact on the victims in those images but, on reflection, he recognises those girls were victims, and he is aware now of the fact that they were the subject of abuse.”
Sentencing Summerton, Recorder Stuart Sprawson also ordered him to register as a sex offender for five years and to pay £150 costs, and made him subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
Recorder Sprawson told him: “In your interview with the probation officer you sought to minimise your interest in this material.
“But, over a comparatively short period of time, you deliberately, on a repeated basis, sought access to this type of material, which you now accept in part was for your sexual gratification.”