Man, 26, who distributed indecent images of children avoids prison

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Oliver Featherstone avoided a jail sentence at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A Felixstowe man who possessed and distributed indecent images of children over six months during 2020 has avoided a prison sentence. 

Oliver Featherstone, 26, of Fleetwood Road, Felixstowe, appeared for sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday having previously pleaded guilty to eight charges. 

Featherstone admitted three charges of making indecent images of children, three counts of distributing indecent images, possessing an extreme pornographic image and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity. 

The court heard how police received information regarding a Kik account after indecent images of children had been uploaded to the internet. 

Featherstone was identified and officers executed a warrant at his address on November 16, 2020, Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the court. 

A number of devices were seized and following analysis, 32 images of the most serious kind - category A - were discovered along with 23 movies of that grade. 

Featherstone was also found to be in possession of 28 category B images and six videos, and 76 category C images and one movie. 

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An extreme pornographic image was also discovered along with evidence of chat sessions where images had been sent, Ms Eley said. 

The age of the children in the images ranged from four to 15 years old, the court heard. 

The chats recovered also showed Featherstone tried to engage a 14-year-old child in sexual activity in July 2020, although the identity or age of the other user could not be verified, Ms Eley said. 

In police interview, Featherstone accepted wrongdoing and said he had been communicating with child protection charity the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. 

He said the Covid pandemic was a particularly difficult time for him and he "went down an unpleasant path", Ms Eley told the court. 

Featherstone had no previous convictions, the court heard. 

Recorder Jeremy Benson QC told Featherstone he was going to take an "unusual course" and not impose a custodial sentence due to the psychological reports he had read. 

Recorder Benson said there was a "substantial" chance of rehabilitation with the right support. 

He handed Featherstone a three-year community order, with up to 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and a programme activity requirement. 

Featherstone must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £95.