April 2010

St Albans man handed community order for possessing child porn

A 26-year-old man caught with thousands of images of child pornography on his computer has been spared jail.

Carlo Rosato, of Lemsford Road, St Albans, who was jailed for three years for arson in 2007, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of making indecent images of children.

He also admitted three counts of possession of thousands of pornographic images, many depicting some of the most serious sexual offences against children.

Rosato was arrested in 2007 after his girlfriend’s father took his laptop to a police station and he was also linked, by his fingerprints, to child pornography found at a previous address in Verulam Road, St Albans.

Although the offences crossed the custody threshold, Judge Michael Baker handed Rosato a three-year community order to give him time to receive treatment for his deviant behaviour.

Ann Evans, prosecuting, at St Albans Crown Court yesterday said: “There are some old matters that date back to 2006 when the defendant was living in a multi occupancy dwelling in St Albans.

“Another resident found a magazine with pornographic images of children in a filing cabinet in a communal bathroom, which caused him to call police.

“Fingerprint examination from pictures in the magazine was found to match the defendant’s.”

Miss Evans added: “In February 2007 the father of the defendant’s girlfriend went to Chippenham police station with a computer saying it contained sexual images of children and this defendant was the most likely suspect.”

The court heard how three days later Rosato was arrested at the family home and a computer tower seized from the premises.

More than 3,000 images were found on the two computers, the majority at level one, but a ‘large number’ of level three images, with level five being the most serious.

Sentencing guidelines state such offences warrant a custodial sentence between four weeks and 18 months.

However, if a short sentence of custody is imposed Rosato would not be eligible for any sex offender treatment, said the judge.

Judge Baker said: “This offence is clearly over the custody threshold and you could have no complaints if I did send you to prison today.

“There are two reasons why I won’t. The first is less significant, but the offences are old.

“The second, of much more importance, is the fact that if I send you to prison it would not be practicable to undergo the sex offender treatment programme while in custody.”

Rosato must comply with a sex offenders treatment programme and sign on the sex offenders register for five years.

He was also handed a SOPO (sexual offences prevention order) prohibiting him owning software that can delete memory.

He must also allow police access to his computer.