November 2019

Photographer found with indecent images of children asks to keep life-long photo collection

A photographer appealed to a judge to keep his life-long collection of photos after he faced losing them for downloading indecent images of children.

Barry Ward, 65, was found to have downloaded 40 indecent images of children after police seized 12 devices, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, said eight of the images downloaded were in the most serious category and one featured a child as young as three to five years old.

He said the search history on his devices showed that Ward made systematic searches for indecent material.

Ward admitted downloading indecent images of children, but his barrister Jonathan Goodman said although Ward accepted his devices would be confiscated and destroyed, he asked if he could have some of the hundreds of innocuous, lawful, images which were also on his devices returned, as they represented his life’s work as a photographer.

Mr Goodman said: “He is a photographer and there are 40 years worth of images, which is essentially his life’s work.”

He asked if an expert on behalf of Ward, whose address was not given, but who the court heard had been staying with his sister in Dereham, could identify the photographs in the collection before they were all destroyed, so that they could be returned to him.

Judge Andrew Shaw allowed Ward 14 days to agree with police what images he could keep as they represented a lifetime’s work, however he said he did not expect police resources to be tied up sorting it out.

Judge Shaw sentenced Ward to 16 months suspended for two years and ordered that he get one-to-one help with probation.

He warned Ward that by looking at indecent images of children he was driving the market for sexual abuse of children and said: “For every indecent image of a child, there is a victim.”

He said the number of images were at the lower end and accepted that Ward had mental health problems.

Judge Shaw also made Ward subject to a sexual harm prevention order which will monitor his computer use, and he was placed on the sex offender’s register for 10 years.

He warned Ward that regular checks would be made as he said Ward was someone who was skilled and knowledgeable on computers.