X

Cookies

Continue We want you to get the most out of using this website, which is why we and our partners use cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to receive these cookies. You can find out more about how we use cookies here.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Subscriptions  |  evouchers  |  Jobs  |  Property  |  Motors  |  Travel  |  Dating  |  Family Notices

Porn addict spared jail for child sex abuse images

A pornography addict who downloaded hundreds of images of children being sexually abused has walked free from court.

Keith Bell photo
Keith Bell

Keith Bell, 43, was given a year in jail – but a judge suspended the sentence after hearing how he had made strenuous efforts to overcome his obsession with pornography since police arrested him at his home.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Bell, of Tribune Drive, Houghton, entered guilty pleas to 12 counts of downloading child pornography on his computers.

Prosecutor John Woodward told the court how police had arrived at the defendant’s home on March 24 last year because they had uncovered evidence that he was using his computers to access child pornography websites.

An examination of his computer equipment later confirmed he had been looking at such images for years.

In total, he had downloaded 1,279 images which were classified as the third most serious type of child pornography; 159 category B images; and 148 images were class A, the most serious type of indecent child image.

Some of the child victims involved were just a year old. The offences dated back to November 2005.

Mr Woodward told the court: “He admitted straight away in his [police] interview that for at least a period of 10 years he had been viewing images. He could not pinpoint the trigger but he felt it had become an addiction.

“He wanted to talk to someone to get help but he didn’t know where to go. He said he hadn’t used pay sites.”

Bell told police that he had regularly looked at pornography while his partner, who was in the court’s public gallery to support him, was at work between 11am and 4pm. He said his preference was for females aged 14 and upwards.

Gail Heard, for Bell, said the defendant had now himself voluntarily installed equipment on his home computer which would prevent him gaining access to such material. He wanted to ensure he never repeated the offence, she said.

She said that since his arrest, Bell had taken “positive steps” to rid himself of what he regarded as an addiction. It had been his interest in adult pornography, which he had viewed in vast quantities, she said, that had led him into his offending. Since his arrest he had contacted the Stop It Now charity helpline, and had had regular counselling.

Miss Heard added: “He is mature enough to realise that these things don’t just disappear but there is a real prospect that this is a man who can be properly rehabilitated.”

Commenting on the ease with which the defendant was able to look at vile child pornography, Judge Paul Batty QC said: “It is a sad reflection of our society that such revolting material – with some of the children as young as one or two years old – can be readily accessed on the internet. It’s a truly shocking state of affairs.”

He said the images represented actual sexual abuse of little boys and girls.

The judge said that while Bell’s references spoke of him as a thoroughly decent man, he had a dark side.

He said: “There is no doubt that the court is here dealing with someone who was indeed an addict. The question, therefore, for the court is ‘Is it simply a question of punishment,’ or should something more constructive be tried?”

Noting that the defendant had sought out help, completed 40 counselling sessions, and put monitoring software on his own computer, the judge ruled it was appropriate to suspend the prison sentence, though this in no way minimised the seriousness of the offences. He suspended the jail term for two years.

In addition, he ruled that Bell be supervised by the Probation Service for two years and undergo a Sexual Offences Behaviour Programme. The appropriate police monitoring software will be installed on his computers, which the police will have access to at all times, and he must have his details entered on to the Sex Offenders’ Register for the next 10 years.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

News & Star What's On search





Vote

Should chewing gum manufacturers be made to pay to help keep our streets clean?

Yes - discarded gum is a menace and almost impossible to shift.

No - those who litter streets should be made to clean them.

How can they be singled out? Dog fouling, cigarette ends and dropped take-out packaging are also a m

Show Result

Hot jobs
Scan for our iPhone and Android apps
Search for:
NEWS & STAR ON: