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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Carlisle sex offender addicted to internet porn spared prison

A repeat sex offender “addicted” to internet porn has narrowly avoided jail after admitting making indecent images of children.

Clive Wall photo
Clive Wall

Clive Wall has been told he has been given a final chance to get his “temptation” under control.

The 44-year-old, of Higginson Mill, Denton Holme, Carlisle, admitted 13 counts of making indecent images of children aged between five and 12 – by opening them up on his computer – and of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by possessing equipment to access the internet without police knowledge.

Carlisle Crown Court heard his latest offences came to light after a police officer spotted a car outside a derelict premises in October 2012, and noticed a laptop case inside it. The vehicle was identified as belonging to Wall.

As part of a previous court order, he was banned from owning equipment capable of accessing the internet, without special software being fitted to monitor its use.

When police sent the computer seized from his car for testing, experts found Wall had used it to regularly view pornographic material – including a small number of indecent images of children, four of which were classified as level four, the second most serious category.

Judge Peter Hughes went into a private room, accompanied by a police officer, to view the images.

He said afterwards: “What emerges from viewing the images is that there are three occasions when the defendant has accessed child pornography using terms in search engines which would direct him to the material.

“There is a pattern of regularly viewing adult pornography, [and] then on these three occasions he has gone further. Otherwise he has resisted the temptation.”

The court heard that in 2010, Wall had been given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting committing an indecent act in the showers of the city’s James Street swimming baths and possessing child pornography.

He also completed an intensive sex offenders’ treatment programme in Northumberland.

A debate ensued in court as to whether Wall had breached the sexual offences order while still bound by the suspended sentence.

His barrister argued that he had no means of accessing the internet until he purchased two “dongles” in 2012, but Judge Hughes insisted that possessing a laptop with internet capability – whether Wall made use of it or not – breached the order.

While considering sentencing, Wall’s defence barrister Erimnaz Mushtaq said her client was receiving help from Cumbria Circles – a charity working with sex offenders – and was supported in court by his partner of 20 years and his mother.

“It is clear the addiction this defendant has is to pornographic images on the internet,” she added.

Considering sentencing, Judge Hughes said he was trying to “think a little bit outside the box” and was looking at new powers recently given to judges to impose suspended sentences of up to two years.

He told Wall: “There is a strong argument that I should simply send you to prison, as punishment to you and a clear message to those outside in the community who are tempted to view images of child pornography.”

Judge Hughes added: “Such a sentence though is unlikely to be effective in dealing with the underlying problem.

“I have been persuaded that there is a more effective way of dealing with this situation.”

Wall was sentenced to nine months in prison for breaching the SOPO, and a further nine months – to be served consecutively – for accessing the images.

The term of imprisonment was suspended for two years, and Wall was ordered to complete two-years supervision under the guidance of the probation service and pay a £100 victim surcharge.

He is already on the sex offenders’ register.

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