Jailed for child porn offences

A SMALLEY man broke down in tears as he was jailed for downloading child pornography.

Barry John Fletcher, 33, of Dobholes Lane, admitted making and possessing indecent images of children.

Fletcher was caught after he subscribed to the American based Landslide Internet site in 1999. In a massive worldwide operation, subscribers were tracked down by police using their credit card details. Derbyshire police raided Fletcher's home in August 2003 and discovered 182 downloaded images on a computer he no longer used.

At Derby Crown Court last Wednesday, Mr Napthine, prosecuting, said: "These sites could not be accessed by chance. This was quite a deliberate act."

The court heard how child pornography images are graded into five categories depending on their nature and severity.

Of the 182 images on Fletcher's computer, 41 were considered easily accessible, others had been deleted and overwritten or were due to be overwritten.

In his defence, Fletcher claimed he accessed the site to try and unsubscribe from unsolicited email which was bombarding his computer. However, Judge Pugsley and Derbyshire police's investigating officer, DC Paul Stevenson, rejected this claim.

Judge Pugsley said: "In an attempt by Mr Fletcher to stop images being sent to him, he replied to an email and viewed the website. I do not understand how you would get rid of an unwanted email by replying to it and viewing a website."

In mitigation, Laura Pitman said: "Mr Fletcher has viewed the images but the police cannot say he has saved them to his computer. There is no suggestion he ever distributed the images to others.

"Very often there are denials throughout, but what Mr Fletcher did was to be very frank and very open with the police in explaining the reasons behind the images being on his computer and that really does go to his credit.

"He has accepted that what he has viewed and what he has done is wrong. He has expressed remorse for behaving in such a way.

Judge Pugsley, said: "This is not a victimless crime. These are crimes against children. I have viewed the images. They are foul."

Fletcher was sentenced to four months imprisonment. He will serve half of that time and the remainder will be served on license. Fletcher was given an extension to his licence so that he can benefit from sex based rehabilitation courses. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for seven years.

Passing sentence, Judge Pugsley said: "This sentence is exceptionally lenient. You need punishment but you also need help.

"You have now lost your good name, you may lose other things like your job. If ever you are brought before a court again you will not get the mercy you got this time."

Fighting back tears, Fletcher replied: "I will not come before this court again."

Judge Pugsley added: "If I had a pound for every time I have heard that I would be a very rich man, but I am sure in this case, this is true."

Court report by Stephen Sinfield