IT manager who downloaded child abuse images spared jail

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
  • An IT manager from Preston downloaded thousands of child abuse images
  • Images featuring children as young as six were discovered
  • Alastair Fay pleaded guilty to all charges
  • He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for a year
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An IT manager, who downloaded child abuse images on his work computer, was spared jail because a judge heard he had mental health problems.

Alastair Fay, 31, from Preston, was arrested in his office after thousands of “filthy” images featuring children as young as six were discovered during a police swoop on his company.

I have seen those pictures and they are filthy

Judge Pamela Badley

Thousands more were found on his personal computer at home in Burrington Close, Fulwood, Preston, said Paul Brookwell, prosecuting at the city’s crown court.

Fay, who pleaded guilty to eight charges of making indecent images and a ninth offence of possessing indecent images, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for a year.

Judge Pamela Badley told him: “I have seen those pictures and they are filthy.

“Your family would be shocked if they saw them, particularly the sheer number of them.

“Your excuses as to why you did it are frankly not impressive.

“It was a very inappropriate use of your skills as a computer trained and responsible manager.

“But I do accept that you do have a life-long mental health problem which had not been diagnosed.

“Your obsession with these images is partly because of the problem you had.

“The material that you downloaded is not of the very worst category, but it is bad enough.”

The court heard police visited the offices of the Optima Group in Blackburn with a search warrant and spoke to Fay when he arrived for work as an IT manager.

When asked if he had been downloading indecent images of children he said “yes.”

The court heard during searches of his work station and also his home they found around 12,000 images of children ranging in age from six to 11.

In a statement, Fay denied he had any intention of distributing the pictures.

Virginia Hayton, defending, said Fay’s family were standing by him after realising he had been suffering from mental health problems for some time.

He had referred himself to a clinic and was now responding to medication.

“His life is far more stable and less chaotic than it was,” Ms Hayton said. “He knows how serious this is and this has been the wake-up call he needed.

“He is now getting the treatment he needs.”