Man who downloaded extreme child pornography avoids jail

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A pervert who downloaded numerous pornographic videos of children out of “curiosity” has walked free from court.

Peter Collins, 58, of Rosevale Close in Hindley, had already pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children as well as possession of a “pseudo” or computer-generated image.

This kind of sentencing is a farce, an insult to the victims used in the videos

Beth Samways

During yesterday’s sentencing at Bolton Crown Court, Judge Timothy Stead heard how married Collins had downloaded 15 of the most extreme category videos over a period of 17 months before viewing and deleting them. Campaigners against child sexual abuse today branded Collins’s evasion of a jail sentence as a “farce.”

After confiscating his laptop, police found 15 “category A” (the most serious) moving images, as well as 13 category B and one category C.

All of these were “inaccessible”, after Collins had deleted them to cover his tracks.

Crown prosecutor David Lees told the court: “He said he did it out of curiosity after a discussion about paedophilia. He was undergoing family difficulties at the time. ‘Curiosity’ is not in consistency with the images found over a longer period.”

The court heard how Collins had accessed the sickening content, which predominantly involved children aged between six and eight years of age. His wife was not in court for his sentencing.

Mr Lees suggested a jail term starting from at least 12 months.

Judge Stead said: “You must understand, although there are some acts which take place in private, the very nature is so adverse even in merely expressing an interest there is an element of encouragement to those who do sick things to children.

“The numbers of images are modest in relatively.”

Collins was sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years, a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, a sexual harm prevention order and £200 court costs.

Beth Samways of child abuse charity Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK (RACPA) said: “A defence of ‘curiosity’ is feeble in our opinion. If there had been one or maybe two videos downloaded then this might have worked, but being in possession of 14 category B and C videos and then downloading the category A videos, over a 17-month period speaks of much more than curiosity surely.

“This has been a progressive collection of the most horrific abuse of children over a period of time that can only be seen as a means of satisfying a sexual need.

Normal ‘curiosity’ ... if there is such a thing ... would surely have been satisfied a long time ago and had he not been caught would he still have been downloading videos?

“Again we have to say that this kind of sentencing is a farce, an insult to the victims used in the videos. Their lives have been forever tainted by this abuse, it will colour so many aspects of their lives.

“To see those who have abused them walking free, or as near to free as makes no matter not only diminishes and demeans them as human beings but will directly affect other victims from coming forward as they see over and over again that the justice system does not take what has happened to them seriously enough to properly punish their abusers.”