When a man received a second-hand DVD recorder his son had ordered from a shop’s website he was horrified to discover child pornography on it.
As a result the police were able to trace not only the seller who had copied the sick movie clip onto the device, but also the man who had originally recorded it.
And both men were ordered to register as sex offenders when they appeared to be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court.
Stephen Brightwell, 53, of Winfield Street, Rugby, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to two charges of making indecent images of children and one of distributing them.
But Glynn Pritchard escaped being jailed after the judge heard he had already been in custody since his arrest in January, which was the equivalent of a 16-month sentence.
Pritchard, 56, of Plomer Close, Rugby, who had admitted four charges of making indecent images of children by downloading them and two of possessing extreme pornography, was given a community sentence with three years’ supervision and ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ programme.
Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said that the case came to light after a man checked a DVD player his son had bought from the Cash Generator website when it was deliver to their home.
He was horrified to find it had child pornography on it, so immediately contacted Cash Generator who contacted the police and informed them it had been bought from Pritchard.
When Pritchard was arrested at his home in January the police seized a laptop on which they found indecent images of children across all three levels of seriousness, as well as images of extreme pornography of women involved in sex acts with horses.
But Mr Brook said the police also seized two SD cards from a camera.
“There’s nothing on the indictment in relation to them, but when they were checked it became clear that Pritchard, from a window of his flat, was recording people outside, in particular young clothed children, zooming in on their crotch areas.”
The recording on the DVD which had triggered the police investigation was of two girls, aged five and seven, who had been surreptitiously filmed by Brightwell, who knew their parents.
He had secretly filmed the seven-year-old as she changed in a bathroom, and in two other clips he was seen performing a sex act on himself after separately blindfolding the girls.
At first Brightwell said he had been treated for rectal cancer, as a result of which he claimed he had no sexual appetite, and he denied making the recordings or showing them to Pritchard.
But after being shown the videos he admitted making them and blamed the medication for causing him to develop a sexual interest in young children.
He said that after making the recordings he had taken them to show Pritchard, who he knew ‘liked that type of thing,’ and left his camcorder at Pritchard’s home for a couple of days.
Pritchard at first made no comment, but then accepted Brightwell had shown him the camcorder recordings, but that he did not know how they had got transferred to the DVD player.
Ben Williams, for Pritchard, accepted that prison could be justified, but pointed out the time he had already spent in custody on remand.
Colin Charvill, for Brightwell, said he felt ‘shame and remorse’ over what he had done, and he had deleted the images after retrieving the camcorder from Pritchard and believed they no longer existed, unaware they were on the DVD recorder.
Mr Charvill, who pointed out the girls were not involved in any sexual activity themselves and were not aware of what was going on as they were being recorded, said it had taken place a few years ago and ‘has come back to haunt him.’
Asking the judge to pass a suspended sentence, he added that Brightwell had been treated for cancer in 2005, and his wife, who is severely disabled, needs his assistance on a daily basis and would be at risk if he was jailed.
Sentencing the two men, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: “You are both here because of the interest you showed in indecent images of children.
“You Mr Pritchard had a number of images you downloaded from the internet, but in your case Mr Brightwell it went further.
“Although the police did not find images of that nature on your computer, what they did find was that you had filmed two young girls. They are highly disturbing images, and you then shared them with Mr Pritchard.
“Although the children did not know what you were doing, one can only imagine the horror of a parent on knowing what was happening.”
And she told Pritchard he would also have been jailed if it was not for the time he had already spent in custody.