Man downloaded indecent images of children 'out of morbid curiosity'

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich man has avoided going to jail for downloading indecent images of children "out of morbid curiosity".

Steve Allen was handed a suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday afternoon.

The 55-year-old had previously admitted a total of four charges at an earlier hearing before magistrates on July 29 this year.

Allen, of Clover Close, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing extreme pornography.

Police executed a warrant on July 27 last year after receiving information that indecent images of children had been downloaded from Allen's IP address.

Officers seized a Lenovo laptop, Acer computer tower, Samsung hard drive and a My Passport Ultra drive.

In total, investigators found 109 of the most serious, category A indecent images of children, along with 175 category A videos, 96 category B images, five category B videos, 74 category C images, one category C video and one extreme pornographic image depicting an adult female engaged in sexual activity with a dog.

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One of the category A videos depicted a boy aged between four and six, while a category B image showed a girl aged as young as 18 months, the court heard.

Also on the devices was found anti-forensic software, including programmes called Disk Cleaner, Shredder and Clean-Up, while the Acer computer tower was also found to contain a Tor Browser for anonymous web searching.

Allen was said to have admitted the offences in police interview, telling officers he accessed the material "out of morbid curiosity" in May and June, using file sharing programme Shareaza.

The court heard that there was no evidence to suggest Allen had further distributed any of the images or videos.

Recorder Graham Huston told Allen: "You have shown remorse for your behaviour and said you found it difficult, if not impossible to explain why you were downloading this disgusting material.

"It's the appetite of men, such as you, for such material, that causes more of the material to be produced – to satisfy the demand of which you were part – and that means, simply, that more children will be abused."   

Allen was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 30 days' rehabilitation activity requirement. 

He will also be made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.