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Colne accountant in child sex pictures shame
A RETIRED accountant downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children from the internet, a court heard.
John Smith, 68, a father-of-two and grandfather, had a stash of almost 400 indecent images, ranging from level one to level five, the most serious level.
He was also said to have shared three pictures of level one on Yahoo Messenger, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The hearing was told the pictures showed the abuse of children of a variety of ages.
The youngsters had been forced to take part in sex acts, intercourse and sado-masochism.
Smith had been caught when police raided his house in Colne, on November 28, last year.
As his wife had walked into the room, he had told her: “They have come to arrest me for downloading indecent images, love. I have been very stupid.”
The defendant, of Wycollar View, admitted nine counts of making an indecent photo of a child and one of distributing an indecent photo of a child – three still images of level one.
He was given six months in jail, suspended for two years, with two years' supervision and the internet sex offender treatment programme.
He also received a sexual offences prevention order and was placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.
Smith had no previous convictions.
Michael Wallbank, prosecuting, said police went to the defendant’s address to execute a search warrant under the Obscene Publications Act.
Smith let them in and he was told he was being arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing indecent images.
Officers seized his laptop computer and CDs and DVDs from his study.
He was interviewed and made little or no comment.
Smith was bailed and the items seized were examined by the police high-tech crime unit.
An officer recovered 397 images in total – 13 at level five, 116 at level four, 87 at level three, 25 at level two and 153 at level one.
Mr Wallbank said the defendant was further questioned in March this year and admitted downloading the photos.
He said he had first viewed child porn about three years earlier when he had retired.
Smith told the police he was very ashamed, wished to apologise and said he was ‘absolutely mortified’ there were so many images.
Tim Storrie, for Smith, said he had hitherto led a blameless life and had let his family down.
The barrister told the hearing: “These events constitute a spectacular disgrace.”
Mr Storrie said the defendant ‘confessed what he had done at the door’ and had immediately sought help.
The barrister said: “He realised he had caused very great harm and he needed to look inside himself to work out how he had committed these offences.
“Now, he can barely imagine he ever involved himself.”
Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell told Smith he accepted there was genuine and real remorse and insight into his behaviour.
The judge said: “These children are recruited and are forced into this sort of activity so that people like you can view them on the internet.”
Judge Newell told the defendant it had to be a custodial sentence, but because there was a real chance of treatment being workable, he could suspend it.