16th Dec, 2017

Porn computer programmer escapes jail

Leamington Editorial 29th Jun, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

AN AUTISTIC computer programmer used his own computer to download indecent images of children at his Leamington home.

James Watson, of Avenue Road, at the time, also had images of extreme pornography, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.

The 44 year-old had pleaded guilty to 15 offences of making indecent images of children and possessing extreme porn.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years, with supervision for the whole period, and was ordered to take part in a sex offender treatment programme.

Recorder Martin Hurst also made him subject to a sexual offences prevention order and ordered him to register as a sex offender for five years.

Prosecutor Mark Phillips said last summer police acting on information they had received went to Watson’s home in Avenue Road.

They told him they had reason to believe he had indecent images, and he immediately said they would find them on both his computer tower and on his laptop, which were seized.

When they were examined, officers found over 1,000 still indecent images of children and more than 350 movies showing children, and even some featuring dogs.

Watson had obtained all of the images through a file-sharing website, but he said although he had downloaded them in that way, his own files were closed, so they could not be accessed by anyone else.

Jamie Strong, defending, said Watson, who was said to suffer from an autistic spectrum disorder which had contributed to his behaviour, worked as a computer programmer earning £30,000 a year.

One of the standard requirements under a sexual offences prevention order was the person should allow the police to inspect any computer to which he has access.

But Mr Strong pointed out that Watson would not have the authority to give permission in relation to his employers’ computers – so that requirement was amended to cater for that.

Sentencing Watson, who has since moved to Gloucester, Recorder Hurst told him: “I am sure you are bitterly ashamed and embarrassed to be here.

“The court has sympathy for you and your condition – but what you have been doing is illegal and wrong, and very damaging for the children you look at. It is only because you look at those images that they are made.

“Think of what you are looking at. They are real children and real men. It is disgusting, and you have got to stop.

“But the way to make people like you stop is, in the first instance, treatment rather than prison.”

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