A Peterborough man who downloaded thousands of indecent images of children has avoided being sent to prison after taking action to make sure he does not re-offend.
Reginald Sweeting-Jones (55) of West Lake, Hampton, was given an 18 month jail sentence, suspended for two years at a hearing at Cambridge Crown Court this afternoon (Friday).
The court heard police executed a warrant at Sweeting-Jones’ address in September last year.
Michael Proctor, prosecuting, said: “Sweeting-Jones was living in a house of multiple occupancy, and police seized a number of devices from all the people living at the address after receiving intelligence indecent images were being downloaded.
“The following day Sweeting-Jones phoned officers asking to speak to officers. He attended the station, and informed police they did not need to look further, and said images were on his laptop.”
At a formal interview in December, he made full admissions, and said he had been downloading the images for 18 months.
In total police found more than 13,000 indecent images of children, with 670 still images and 48 movies graded at category A - the most serious category. The majority were at category C, the lowest category. The children were aged between three and 12. Officers also found extreme images on the laptop.
Sally Hobson, defending, said it was an unusual case, as the defendant had taken action to address his offending.
She said: “What is unusual is there was immediate co-operation the day after the investigation began.
“He contacted police to say it’s me you are looking for’ to remove suspicion from others.
“In a large number of similar cases that come before the courts, even in the face of compelling evidence, people are loathed to admit the offences because of the stigma associated with them.
“He made immediate admissions, and said ‘I have a problem.’
He went to his GP to seek assistance, and when he said he was unable to help, Mr Sweeting-Jones did not take that as a no. He went and sought help elsewhere, and has paid for it himself. He does not want to offend again.
“This conviction will have an effect on him for the rest of his life.”
Miss Hobson said Sweeting-Jones had shown genuine remorse, and understood the effect the offending had on the children in the images and videos.
She said: “He understands the children are victims, and as long as people like him look at the images, there will be victims.”
Judge Bridge, sentencing said: “There is no doubt these are serious offences. These are real children, suffering real abuse.
“But you have done all you have been able to do to address the issues which led you to the commission of the offences. That enables me to suspend the custodial sentence.”
Sweeting-Jones had pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images and one count of possessing extreme pornographic images at a previous hearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.
Along with the suspended sentence, Sweeting-Jones was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, take part in a rehabilitation activity requirement, and pay £245 costs. A sexual harm prevention order, banning him from unsupervised contact with children and banning him from deleting internet history on devices, was also imposed for a period of five years. He will sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.