A father who claimed he went onto websites showing child sexual abuse images to protect his family was caught with almost 3,000 indecent photographs on his mobile phone.
Police raided Graeme Knowles’ home in Wallasey after investigations by the Canadian authorities and ironically his professed attempts to protect his family resulted in him having to move out following social services intervention.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 49-year-old made certain denials when first interviewed.
He said he “never had and never would harm any adult or child” but Chris Taylor, prosecuting, said that the officers told him “people always tell them that.”
They pointed out images are put on line as they know people would look at them. “Everyone of these images represent sadly the abuse of a child somewhere in this world.”
Knowles, of Daresbury Road, Liscard, pleaded guilty to three offences of making indecent images in each category of seriousness and one offence of possessing a total of 2,989 such images.
Imposing a three-year community order on Knowles, a delivery driver, Judge Anil Murray said that there is “a realistic prospect of rehabillitation” but pointed out: “You have come close to going to prison today.”
He ordered him to carry out up to 45 days rehabilitation activities and attend a sexual offenders treatment programme.
The judge also ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years and imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same length of time.
“Counsel says you are ashamed – and so you should be,” he added.
Mr Taylor had told the court that police went to Knowles’ home on August 29 last year: “Initially he told officers he was going on this sort of website because he believed he was protecting the interest of his family members.”
His two mobile phones and computer tower were seized and examined and on his Samsung, phone experts found the indecent images of children ranging from toddlers to teenagers.
He said he had come across the images after initially looking at porn sites.
In a later interview he explained he had felt increasingly isolated and alone following the illness of both his and his wife’s parents. “He went onto websites initially to release that feeling of stress and isolation.”
Knowles went on to express remorse and regret and said, “I regret everything.”
The court heard that after social services involvement he had to move out of the family home though was later allowed back.
But when it was discovered that he had not told them “the full story” he had to move out again and an assessment is currently being made.