August 1 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
A 61-year-old man has successfully appealed against a jail sentence he was given for downloading 600 indecent images of children.
Peter Ashton, of Pearson Road, Ipswich, was given an immediate custodial term of 32 weeks’ imprisonment by Ipswich magistrates in May.
The court had heard he had previously been convicted of two counts of indecently assaulting a female and a charge of gross indecency with a child in 2000.
However, an appeal against his latest sentence at Ipswich Crown Court before Recorder Guy Akers ended with Ashton’s sentence being suspended for two years.
As part of his sentence Ashton is subject to a two-year supervision order and must undertake the Thames Valley Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programme.
On May 2 Ashton pleaded guilty to making indecent photographs a child, and a further count of possessing a prohibited image of a child, when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.
At his sentencing three weeks later the court heard Ashton had previously served a 30-month jail term following a conviction at Ipswich Crown Court on April 19, 2000, for the indecent assaults and gross indecency.
Prosecutor Colette Harper told magistrates Ashton was on the sex offenders’ register when he committed his latest set of offences.
A public protection officer visited his home on September 19 last year.
A laptop was found and when the history was searched the computer was discovered to have contained a number of images of children.
Mrs Harper said 588 images were found at Level One, 12 images at Level Three and two images at Level Four – the second highest grading for indecent images of children.
In addition 208 cartoon images showing children being abused were also found.
John Hughes, representing Ashton, asked magistrates to spare him a term of immediate imprisonment.
Mr Hughes said a pre-sentence report suggested Ashton should be able to go on a Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme to address his offending.
The court was told it would be difficult to undertake this work in prison. The course takes three years.
However, after retiring to deliberate their sentence at length, the magistrates returned to court to tell Ashton his offences were so serious custody was the only option.
He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison for each of the charges to run consecutively.
Ashton was also made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years