Balloon artist caught with indecent images avoids prison
A professional balloon artist who handed himself in to police after hundreds of indecent images of children were discovered at his home has avoided jail.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how the former girlfriend of Samuel Stamp-Dod, 46, woke around 4.30am on January 5, 2019, and went downstairs to get a glass of water.
She decided to play a game of solitaire on Stamp-Dod’s tablet in the kitchen but when she opened the device, she saw an indecent image of a 10-year-old girl, Matthew Bagnall, prosecuting, told the court.
She then discovered a number of similar indecent images on the device, Mr Bagnall said.
Following the discovery, the former girlfriend then left the address but later commmunicated with Stamp-Dod and told him to turn himself in, the court heard.
Stamp-Dod, who ran VIP Balloons, then went to Ipswich police station and spoke to officers, handing them his phone.
After his devices were seized, forensic examination revealed 216 indecent images of the most serious kind - category A - along with 304 classed at category B and 1,030 category C.
Stamp-Dod, of Hayhill Road, Ipswich, who has won awards for his balloon sculpting, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image.
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The court heard Stamp-Dod had no previous convictions.
David Stewart, defending, said Stamp-Dod had already engaged with child protection charity the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and helpline Stop It Now.
“He makes no attempt to minimise or justify his actions,” Mr Stewart said.
Mr Stewart added that Stamp-Dod’s balloon business has now closed.
Sentencing Stamp-Dod on Friday, Judge Emma Peters said that those who view indecent images fuel child abuse.
“This is why you should hang your head in shame,” the judge said.
“It has an enormous and devastating impact on the lives of children.”
Judge Peters sentenced Stamp-Dod to eight months’ imprisonment in total, suspended for two years and up to 60 rehabilitation activity (RA) days.
Stamp-Dod must also sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years and was made subject to a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
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