A Leamington man who distributed ‘grotesque’ images of adults having sex with children as young as four or five has been jailed for 28 months.
Mark Patterson, who had been downloading indecent images of children for more than five years, was also ordered by a judge at Warwick Crown Court to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Patterson, aged 44, of Arlington Avenue, Leamington, had pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent images of children and six of distributing them.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said that after the police had received information about Patterson’s activity they went to his home in August last year and seized his computer equipment. On his computer and on an external storage device they found more than 6,000 indecent images of children as young as four or five. They included 208 still pictures and 728 movies classed as being in category A on a scale of seriousness. A further 268 stills and 460 movies were in category B. And there were also 4,177 still images and 204 movies in category C. Police computer experts also found evidence that, through the file-sharing website Patterson had used to obtain the images, he had also distributed still and movie images across all three categories.
Jailing Patterson, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “About a fifth of the images were moving images of children being sexually abused. They were images you had collected over more than five years. You were downloading them using file-sharing software, and in doing so you made what you were downloading available to others, which spreads this material wider than just yourself.
“You know these are really serious offences. I have seen the images this morning. They are grotesque images showing children as young as four or five years old.
“It doesn’t take much to imagine the distress caused to them which will live with them for the rest of their lives. These are real children; they don’t just live on your computer. They are images made for a market, and that market is you. You personally contribute to their abuse by downloading these images – and because there is distribution as well, the starting point is three years.
“The aggravating features are the ages of the children, and they are very young children indeed, and the large number of images, well into the thousands.
“It is also aggravated by the length of time over which they were collected, and by the fact that about a fifth of them were moving images and by the obvious distress to the children involved. I accept the distribution is not the most active form of distribution, but if you use software that makes these images available, the inevitable outcome is that other people have easier access to them.”