Sex offender spared jail following ‘unjust delay’ by police in Sheffield
A sex offender caught with nearly 1,200 indecent images of children aged as young as five was today spared jail following what a judge described as an ‘unjust delay’ by police in Sheffield.
Toni Prince, of Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe, downloaded 1,191 indecent images of children, including some of children being raped.
Police also found an ‘extremely unsettling’ handwritten table in her bedside drawer, which contained words including ‘rape’ and ‘torture’, when they raided the 55-year-old’s home.
Prince, whose legal forename is Anthony but who identifies as a woman and goes by the name Toni, admitted her crimes after being arrested on June 14, 2016.
Sentencing her today, Judge Peter Kelson QC described it as a ‘very serious case’ and voiced his concerns over the delay in bringing her to justice, which he said police accepted was ‘entirely’ their fault.
“When there has been, as there clearly has been here, an unjust delay which is not in any way, shape or form your fault, I’m bound by the law to take it into account, and I do so,” he told the defendant.
He sentenced Prince to six months imprisonment, suspended for one year, meaning she will not be jailed unless she commits a further offence during the next 12 months.
She was also made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and given a 34-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Prince had previously admitted making indecent images of children, possessing prohibited images of children, and possessing extreme pornographic images. In legal terms ‘making’ images can refer to downloading them, which is what she had done.
In total, she downloaded 108 images classed as category A, which is the most serious; 90 falling into category B; and 993 category C ones.
She also downloaded 53 images of ‘extreme pornography’ and 337 prohibited images of children, which the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) defines as ‘non-photographic’ images including ‘cartoons, manga and drawings’.
The court heard how South Yorkshire Police first submitted a file to the CPS on August 5, 2016 but officers were asked to provide details of the content found on the devices seized from Prince’s home.
Despite being chased by the CPS, it was another two years before police eventually resubmitted the file with this additional evidence on August 15, 2018, and Prince eventually appeared in court for the first time on April 16 this year.
Sheffield woman found with over 1,000 indecent images of children hauled before the court
A Sheffield woman has been hauled before the city’s Crown Court after she admitted to possessing over 1,100 indecent images of children, some of which involved kids as young as five.
South Yorkshire Police (SYP) raided the home of Toni Prince, 55, after receiving intelligence which suggested she had been downloading indecent images of children.
Officers seized two laptops and a mobile phone from the home of Prince, a transgender woman whose legal forename is Anthony.
Prosecutor, Carl Fitch, told Sheffield Crown Court that Prince, of Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe was interviewed by police shortly after the raid and made ‘full and frank admissions’.
“She said she had downloaded indecent images of children. She told police she had been the victim of a catalogue of abuse when she was a young child living in Leicester,” said Mr Fitch.
Mr Fitch told the court that despite Prince’s ‘early’ and continued co-operation with police following the raid in June 2016, the force did not complete the analysis of her electronic devices until August 2018.
Addressing Judge Peter Kelson QC, Mr Fitch said: “As Your Honour will know, indecent image cases take a long time to process.”
Analysis revealed Prince had downloaded a total of 1,191 indecent images of children, whose ages ranged between five and 13-years-old.
In total, Prince downloaded 108 Category A images – the most serious legal category, defined as content which shows children being raped, as well as 90 Category B images and 993 Category C images.
She also downloaded 53 images of ‘extreme pornography’ and 337 prohibited images of children, which the Crown Prosecution Service define as ‘non-photographic’ images.
This includes ‘cartoons, manga and drawings’.
Prince pleaded guilty to charges including making indecent images of children; possession of prohibited images of children and possession of extreme pornographic images at an earlier hearing.
Judge Kelson said he regarded the three-year wait Prince had endured for her case to come to court as ‘torture’.
After requesting legal guidance from Mr Goldsack on whether a defendant whose case has taken years to come to court should have their custodial sentence ‘minimised or suspended,’ Judge Kelson told the court he would adjourn the rest of the sentencing hearing until Friday, July 19.
He said: “The difficulty I have is this case is well past the custody threshold and suspect that had it come to court within six months, the defence would have come into difficulty in suggesting the custodial sentence should be suspended.”
Judge Kelson told Mr Fitch he would like to receive a letter from SYP’s chief constable, Stephen Watson, by Friday to explain why it had taken over two years for the force to analyse Prince’s devices – even after she admitted to her crimes in police interview.
As he released Prince on bail until Friday’s hearing, Judge Kelson told her: “Ms Prince, you have been subject to shocking delays, and I’m now creating a further four-day delay before sentencing you, but I need more help. Your offences are very serious, you know that…if I had sentenced you today, I would have sent you to prison…I’m not threatening you, and I’m not saying what your sentence will be on Friday.
“I know this is four more difficult days for you, but I hope you understand why I’m doing this.”