A MAN who downloaded “vile” images of children as young as six being sexually abused was spared an immediate prison sentence after a judge heard he provided vital support to his sick father-in-law.
Andrew Hudson (41) denied for almost three years that he had intended to access almost 50 images of child sex abuse before finally admitting his guilt.
Mr Andrew Bailey said police had executed a search warrant at Hudson’s home in October 2018 in relation to the suspected downloading of indecent images of children.
Hudson, of Worksop Road, South Anston, was not at home but was arrested at work.
“When interviewed, he denied deliberately downloading images of children,” said Mr Bailey.
“He admitted downloading a large amount of material from the internet and that he may have unwittingly downloaded it but denied searching for (child abuse images).”
Mr Bailey said search terms found on Hudson’s computer contradicted this argument and although most of the images found were inaccessible, they had “existed on the device at some point”.
He described what was shown in some of the images, details of which we are omitting to avoid causing distress, saying they pictured two young girls as young as six being sexually abused.
Investigating officers found Hudson had used peer-to-peer file sharing software to download material.
The charges brought related to 20 images in category A — the most extreme — four in Category B and 23 in Category C.
Ms Grace Cowell, mitigating, brought the court’s attention to letters to the judge from Hudson’s wife and his mother-in-law.
She highlighted how Hudson was said to have provided valuable support after his father-in law was diagnosed with dementia, with his mother-in-law saying she “would not have been able to cope without him” and adding: “I hope you can see what it would mean if we did not have that support.”
Ms Cowell said Hudson, who had also suffered from medical issues including ADHD, was a regular charity fundraiser who had completed sponsored walks for Alzheimer’s charitites.
Calling on the judge to suspend any prison sentence, Ms Cowell added: “He has a good awareness of the impact of his actions and has expressed genuine remorse. It has been a salutory lesson. He says he feels awful and disgusted and does not wish to offend again.”
Judge Michael Slater told Hudson: “You are of previous good character and I’m baffled as to why you should be appearing in the crown court in relation to dealing with vile images of this sort.
“This is not a victimless crime, and I think you are beginning to realise the misery these children are put through. As long as people seek to access these images this sick trade will continue.”
He sentenced Hudson, who admitted six counts of making indecent images of children, to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered him to take part in 55 rehabilitation activity days.
“Make sure you take advantage of the chance the court has afforded you,” the judge said.