November 2018

Factory worker downloaded vile images ‘after searching for death metal band online’

A 45-year-old Tidenham factory worker downloaded vile images of child abuse after he claimed to have found them while searching for a Scandinavian death metal group, a Gloucester judge heard.

Martin Smith, of Days House Cottages, Tidenham admitted three offences of making indecent images between October 18, 2017 and January 18 this year.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC, sitting at Gloucester Crown Court, passed a 12 months jail term suspended for two years on Smith.

The judge had been told there were 13 of the most serious ‘category A’ images including two hours and fifty four minutes of moving images.

Prosecutor, Janine Wood, said police obtained a search warrant for Smith’s home address after information was received about ‘peer to peer sharing’.

Police seized an HP laptop and it was found to contain category A, B and C images of child abuse.

They included images of children as young as eight being subjected to serious abuse.

In interview, Smith told the police that others would ask him to search for music and programmes, which he would download and burn to a recordable disc, the prosecution said.

Smith told officers that one search led him to the acronym PTHC, when he was looking for a Death Metal band.

He told police that he did not know why he downloaded them, and claimed not to gain any gratification.

Judge Lawrie said he had read prosecution paperwork that set out in ‘distressingly graphic terms what those images contained’.

He warned Smith: “The court does not take a lenient view of this.

“I hope you reflect on this. By viewing you contribute to the appalling trade, and a great deal of misery to the victims in these images.

“The youth of a victim is a factor. One was eight,” he continued.

“The sentence will strike a balance between the gravity of what you have done and the mitigation in your favour.

“It is a constructive step to ensure you never repeat this offence again.”

As part of the suspended sentence Smith was ordered to attend thirty rehabilitation sessions and complete sixty hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £350 in court costs.

He was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years and ordered to sign the sex offender register for seven years.