March 2014

Suspended jail term for Gloucestershire businessman caught with child abuse pics

Graphic designer Colin Steward, who runs an erotic photography website, was caught with hundreds of indecent images of children on his computer, a court heard.

The 54-year-old, of Kingsholm Road, in Gloucester, who describes himself as a ‘voyeur’ pleaded guilty to 10 charges of making indecent pictures.

He was sentenced to six months’ jail suspended for 18 months and placed under supervision for 18 months.

Judge William Hart imposed an indefinite sexual offences prevention order and told him he will have to sign the sex offender register for 10 years. He was ordered to pay £175 costs.

David Maunder, prosecuting, said police raided Steward’s home on September 3 last year and found about 450 indecent images of children. More than half of them were at level four – one level below the most serious classification. They involved children in their early teens.

When Steward was interviewed by police and told what had been found on his computer he said he had an interest in what he called ‘erotica’.

Steward said he ran a website where he sought people wanting to have adult shots of themselves.

“He said he would be behind the camera rather than in front of it as he was a voyeur,” Mr Maunder added.

He said Steward told police he had been having personal problems over the last couple of years and added Steward was a man of previous good character.

Paul Trotman, defending, handed the court three references for Steward.

He said Steward was regarded by the probation officer as most unlikely to reoffend.

Passing sentence, Judge Hart said: “Until now you have led a perfectly honest, respectable and decent life and have brought up a family. You clearly have friends who value you extremely highly and have taken the trouble to write on your behalf.

“You have now let down yourself and those who speak highly of you. You now realise that every image of this sort has a victim, a real victim.

“Everyone, whether they pay for these images or not, helps fortify those dreadful people who produce the images in the first place and that of course leads to increased abuse of children, usually abroad but not always.”