A MARINE engineer from Southam has walked free from court with a suspended prison sentence, despite having been caught with almost 25,000 indecent images of children.
David Evans, of Napton Road, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of making indecent images of children.
The 64-year-old was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity and 180 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £535 costs.
Recorder Rebecca Herbert also ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years and made him subject to a sexual harm prevention order restricting his use of internet-capable devices.
Prosecutor Andrew Hope said in November last year, after receiving information about his internet use, the police went to Evans’s home with a search warrant.
They seized computers and other devices, on which a total of 24,948 indecent images of children, mostly pre-pubescent girls, were subsequently found.
And Mr Hope observed that almost all were ‘accessible to the average computer user.’
Most seriously, there were 47 movies and 136 stills classed as being category A, showing children being subjected to sex acts. Most of the images were category C, showing children in naked or indecent poses.
When questioned, Evans admitted possessing the images, but said they were ‘mostly teens,’ although some of the girls were younger.
Evans, who had no previous convictions, said he had had an interest in such material for the past five or six years, added Mr Hope.
Asking for Evans to be given full credit for his pleas, his barrister Graeme Simpson said: “He pleaded guilty at the first hearing in this court, and had made full admissions in interview.”
Mr Simpson said Evans, who lives alone in a rented flat, had been employed as a marine engineer for many years.
“If he goes into immediate custody he will lose his home and his employment, and his employers will lose a vital employee.”
Asking the judge to follow a recommendation in a pre-sentence report, he said Evans worked for a company which hired out boats to the public, so had to work weekends, but could carry out unpaid work on his days off during the week.
Sentencing Evans, Recorder Herbert told him: “These are real children who are being abused so you can engage in your fantasy.
“Make no mistake, what you have done is not a victimless offence. Young children are abused to feed the appetites of people like you.
“However, I must also take into account the mitigating features. You are now 64 and have never been in trouble before, let alone for anything of this type.”