August 2019

Man found with extreme child abuse images dodges jail

A veteran caught posting indecent images of children on an online messaging service and searching the dark web described his own actions as “disgusting” as he avoided jail.

David Saunders’ home near Fakenham was raided by police after they traced an account named ‘John Love’ to him.

It had posted an indecent image to the Kik Messenger site in February, and the associated mobile phone number led officers to Saunders home at Blenheim Road, Sculthorpe.

They seized three USB sticks, a Packard Bell computer tower and a Moto mobile phone.

On them were stored hundreds of indecent or prohibited images of children and extreme pornography, including more than 500 of the most extreme videos, dating back to 2013.

Eleanor Sheerin, prosecuting, said Saunders made “full and frank admissions” in two police interviews.

And as he was given a three-year community order at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday, Saunders said from the dock the images he had were “disgusting”.

“There are a range of ages but some [of the children] are extremely young, under the age of five,” Miss Sheerin told the court.

“One was of a three to four month old baby boy.

“There is evidence of [Saunders] deliberately searching for extremely young children and familial sexual abuse.”

Judge Andrew Shaw told Saunders the case was “particularly troubling” as he had deliberately searched for images on the dark web.

“In one sense it is refreshing for the court to have a defendant prepared to be as honest as you have been,” he said. “Unless and until you acknowledge the problem you are not susceptible to help or treatment.

“You need to understand every image of a child being abused means somewhere in the world that child was, in fact, abused.

“If there were no market for them, they would not be created.

“You could have no complaint at all if I sent you to prison immediately. I am just persuaded the proper and better course to ensure your long-term rehabilitation and protection of the public is to impose a three year community order.”

Saunders, 44, admitted making and possessing indecent images, including extreme pornography and prohibited images.

143 images and 502 videos were of category A – the most extreme.

He was given a three year community order to include attendance at the Horizon project, a sexual harm prevention order to run for five years, and 60 days of rehabilitation.

“If I see you again you will be going to prison – for years, not months,” Judge Shaw told him. “You have done the right thing to ask for help and I hope you succeed.”