A PERVERT from Leamington arrested for downloading images of young children being sexually abused confessed to the police he had also sent images to other people.
But Michael McKenzie escaped being jailed after a judge heard that officers who examined his computer could not say what category of seriousness those images were in.
The 53-year-old, of Lancaster Way, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of possessing indecent images of children and one of distributing them.
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity, and was ordered to do 220 hours of unpaid work and to pay £550 costs.
In addition, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, who described McKenzie as having ‘a very dark and twisted side,’ ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Prosecutor Angus Robertson said in May last year the police went to McKenzie’s home at the time in Sadler Road, Coventry, and seized various computer devices.
On four of them they subsequently discovered more than 260 indecent images of children which, after first answering ‘no comment,’ he admitted downloading from a website.
Mr Robertson said the worst of the images were 68 movies and 88 stills showing children subjected to sex acts.
During his interview McKenzie had volunteered he had sent images of children aged between two and 11 to other people.
Attempts were made to examine the devices to establish what had been sent and which category of seriousness they were in, but that had been unsuccessful.
The judge said he would therefore have to give McKenzie the benefit of the doubt and deal with him on the basis that they were in the lowest category.
Delroy Henry, defending, said: “It is disgusting, and he is disgusted with himself. He is ashamed, but at least he had the good sense to admit it from the outset.”
Mr Henry added McKenzie had sought help from the Lucy Faithful Foundation, which works with sex offenders.
Judge Griffith-Jones told McKenzie: “I have come within an ace of making this an immediate sentence, if only to demonstrate the revulsion people feel that you are assisting a market that leads to people abusing little children in this way.
“It cannot be proved what you were distributing. Some people would say it’s more likely it’s the horrible ones, but it is fair to give you the benefit of the doubt.”