Jail sentence waits for child porn man

HIDING his face in shame and disgrace – this is the father-of-two facing prison after being caught with hardcore child porn on his home computer.Magistrates deciding the fate of disgraced family man Stephen Woods, of Woodbridge, have asked a Crown Court judge to sentence the 41-year-old because their powers would not have allowed a penalty severe enough to match his crime.

HIDING his face in shame and disgrace - this is the father-of-two facing prison after being caught with hardcore child porn on his home computer.

Magistrates deciding the fate of disgraced family man Stephen Woods, of Woodbridge, have asked a Crown Court judge to sentence the 41-year-old because their powers would not have allowed a penalty severe enough to match his crime.

Woods, a forklift driver of Pembroke Avenue, yesterday admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children under 16.

He also pleaded guilty to a fourth charge of possessing a quantity of indecent photographs of children under 16.

Forty-five indecent images were found on Woods' hard drive after police seized the equipment from his home.

Specially trained officers found evidence that he had accessed a child porn site on July 18 last year and viewed three pages with images of children engaged in varying sexual acts.

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Prosecuting, David Hutson told the hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court that four categories of images were found on the computer.

They ranged from three images rated as level one, the least serious category, which showed children in erotic poses, to 23 images of the second most serious category, level four, showing adults engaged in penetrative acts with children.

"We're not suggesting the defendant has taken the photos," Mr Hutson said.

"If you open an attachment on a computer then legally you are making a document."

When arrested by police Woods accepted he had visited the website.

Mitigating, Mark Holt told the court Woods was a man of previous good character.

"Mr Woods has been co-operative. The police interviewed him at length and he was quite candid," he said.

Mr Holt also suggested while Woods may have known what site he was accessing he may not have known the nature of the images he was about to view.

However Mr Hutson said that while that may not have been clear on inspection of the first web page it would quickly have become clear, yet Woods went on to view three pages in total.

"Giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt, it is possible when the defendant sees the front page he wouldn't know what level the images are (that) he is going to see but it is clear once he's seen the first page he knows what he's going to see," Mr Hutson said.

During yesterday's hearing, Woods sat silent with his head bowed.

The court heard that legal guidelines suggest he may face between four and eight months in prison.

Magistrate Graham Barnett sent the case to Ipswich Crown Court where judges were not restricted by the magistrates' maximum sentencing power of six months.

"We have decided the offences you have committed are so serious you should receive greater punishment than this court can impose," he said.

Woods was placed on the sex offenders register before being released on unconditional bail until the crown court hearing on a date yet to be set.

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