Preston court hears man made indecent images of children during a ‘downturn in his mental wellbeing.’

A 24-year-old man downloaded indecent photographs of children during a "downturn in his mental wellbeing" a court in Preston was told.

By Brian Ellis
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:55 am

Thomas James Anderton admitted possessing 24 child images when police visited his home after receiving information and seized electronic devices.

Magistrates in the city sent him to the Crown Court to be sentenced after deciding their powers of punishment were not sufficient to deal with the case.

The magistrates were told they could only impose a prison sentence of up to a year. And, despite representations from Anderton's solicitor that the offences could attract a tariff of less than 12 months, they passed the case up to the higher court to be dealt with.

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Preston Magistrates Court

The court was told the offences dated back to 2019. Police attended Anderton's home in Greetby Hill, Ormskirk and took away a number of devices.

Of the two dozen indecent images of children found on the devices, 10 were of the most serious Category A.

Prosecuting solicitor Stacey Morrow said Anderton had made a full admission to officers when he was interviewed.

Lawyer Mike Flynn, representing Anderton, argued that "making" the images was simply downloading them and "should be treated as possession."

He told the court that although the offences carried a starting point for sentence of 12 months in prison - the maximum available to magistrates - the fact that his client had pleaded guilty and the first available opportunity meant the starting point ought to be eight months (one third off).

He argued there were no aggravating factors in the case - Anderton was of previous good character, had been remorseful throughout and the offences had not been committed while on bail.

"These offences came as a result of a downturn in his mental wellbeing," he said. "There is an argument you do have power to deal with it today."

Chair of the magistrates Joyce Frost rejected that and said: "When we have taken everything into consideration we don't believe our sentencing powers are enough for these offences."

Anderton was remanded on bail to appear before Preston Crown Court in July for sentence.