Man sentenced for taking photos of children

IPSWICH: A man caught taking photographs of children at a Birdman contest is today the subject of a five-year sexual offences prevention order.

James Chapman, of Hazel Drive, Ipswich, was also given an 18-month community order when he was sentenced by magistrates in Sussex.

The 42-year-old had earlier admitted outraging public decency by taking photographs of youngsters for ten years.

Chapman took 50 photographs during last year’s Worthing Birdman contest in August – a number of which were close-up images of children as young as five.

Worthing magistrates had previously heard a number of families became suspicious when they saw Chapman taking photographs of children on the beach.

They called police, who then arrested Chapman after he refused to hand over his camera.

His camera and memory cards were seized and a number of photographs were discovered, many of young children on the beach.

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The court was told there were 50 images, the majority were of children about 10 to 13 years old, but in all, the ages ranged from two years old to 20. There were about four or five images of each person.

Magistrates heard one of the images was of a child, aged about 11, who was wearing a red skirt. The image was a close-up shot showing the girl’s underwear.

Another shot was a close-up of a five-year-old girl sitting “half-naked” on the beach.

“The officer who arrested the defendant said he was shocked and appalled at the images,” said prosecutor Amanda Allemand.

“The defendant admitted some of the images were taken for sexual gratification.

“He said photography was his hobby and he took photographs for artistic purposes.”

Gareth Morgan, for Chapman, a software engineer, said his client had no previous convictions.

He said: “The photographs do not amount to indecent images, the majority are children playing on the beach.”

However, Mr Morgan said he did accept some were of the underwear area.

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