June 2019

Retired miner downloaded sick images of child abuse

A grandad who said he downloaded sick images of children being sexually abused because he was ‘curious’ has avoided jail.

Alan Crabtree, 72, was found to have saved 85 indecent images of children onto his two mobile phones – 13 of these were classed as category A, the worst serverity.

The retired miner, who has lived in Salford all his life, said looking at the disturbing images became a ‘compulsion’.

He said he initially used social media to find the pictures out of curiosity.

His family, who described him as a ‘loving and supportive father’, knew nothing of his shameful secret until cops came knocking at the door of the family home and seized his personal devices.

At Manchester Crown Court, Crabtree admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children.

But he walked free with a 12-month community order after a judge said he was ‘astonished’ to see a man of his character commit this type of crime.

The offences – which took place between April 2015 and December 2017 – came to light when police received intelligence from the National Crime Agency.

Prosecutor Juliet Berry said: “After receiving the information, police attended at his address on 8 December 2017 and executed a warrant.

“They seized two laptops and two mobile phones – one Acer phone and one Samsung phone.

“He was interviewed and admitted that the images could be found on the phones.”

Crabtree avoided a custodial sentence with the judge saying his hitherto impeccable character meant he could be rehabilitated in the community.

Passing sentence, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe, said: “It’s astonishing to see a man of your background in this situation.

“These are not victimless offences. The children whose photos are taken are abused.

“Some of these images reflect the most serious sexual abuse of these children.

“You regarded this as something that started out as a curiosity then became a compulsion.

“You have shown remorse and sought to seek assistance. This is a blemish on an otherwise exemplary record.

“If these matters are addressed there is no reason why you cannot go back to being the hard-working and respectful man you was.”

Crabtree was handed a 12-month community order made up of 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He must sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, which will limit his access to the internet.