November 2018

Suspended sentence for man who looked at abused children online

A MAN caught with dozens of indecent images of children said he struggled to understand they were real people being sexually assaulted, a court has heard.

Mark Seager said he had been sent the pictures and movies as he engaged in online chat about child abuse.

But after hearing the 52-year-old had sought help for his problems and was being supported by his family a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how police acting on intelligence raided his home on Barley Leaze, Chippenham, in August 2017, when he immediately admitted what he had been doing.

When his computers were examined he was found to have 60 indecent images of children with four in the worst category, six in the middle and 50 in the least serious.

Mr Meeke said that he made full admissions when he was questioned, saying he had not searched out the material but received it during chat room conversations.

“He showed a degree of detachment, as so often seen in these cases. He was detached from the reality that these were real children somewhere, being abused,” Mr Meeke said.

“It is very clear from the outset he was open and honest.”

Seager pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children.

Richard Williams, defending, said “He is a man who has indicated quite firmly that he wishes to address any demons or issues that he actually has in relation to this area.”

He said the case has been hanging over his head for more than a year and given him ‘a great fright’.

Passing sentence Judge Jason Taylor QC said “Mr Seager, you are 52 and you find yourself in court for the first time in your life, which is a very sad occasion.

“You said you had not actually searched for the images but received them during online discussions about sexual abuse.”

He imposed four months jail suspended for two years with a two year community order, and 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

Seager must also abide by a sexual harm prevention order restricting his liberty, and register as a sex offender for seven years.