Preston paedophile's stash of 13,000 images exposed after he leaves phone on the bus

A man who lost his mobile phone ended up being arrested by child protection police.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 12:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 1:34 pm
Crown Court

Forklift truck driver Mathew Ian Race, 40, of Station Road, Bamber Bridge, was traced by officers after the offending HTC was discovered by a group of horrified teenage girls.

Prosecuting, David Clarke told Preston Crown Court the origins of the police investigation were “quite unusual”.

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Crown Court

One girl alerted her mother, who then contacted Lancashire Police.

A subsequent probe uncovered more than 13,000 images on this, and a second, phone.

Mr Clarke said: “ Officers from the Online Child Investigation Team went to his home on Station Road, where he lives alone. He readily accepted at the scene he had lost his mobile on a bus.

“Police seized a number of electronic articles at the time. He also handed over a Huawei mobile phone.”

The court heard some images and involved ‘activity’ with girls aged as young as five, as well as video clips.

In an interview, Race said he had sourced images from website and it had gradually “become a habit in his life”.

He said he made a point of keeping his phone away from his nephews and nieces who visited from time to time, and he explained he’d had the first phone - the HTC - for four or five years.

Mr Clarke added: “ He accepted he’d developed an uncontrollable habit.”

Race admits possessing indecent photographs and three counts of making them, with 280 images at category A - the most serious in law - 209 at category B and 12,449 at Category C.

Defending, Philip Holden said he had asked for assistance during his interview to address his ‘distorted thinking’.

Recorder Michael Murray imposed eight months, suspended for two years, 120 hours unpaid work, and a three year sexual harm order.

He said: “There’s clearly a cycle of abuse which has physical, psychological, and sexual repercussions for the children involved.”