Man caught with child abuse images ‘will not act on fantasies’
Richard Saunders, 34, had more than 300 indecent pictures of children Teesside Crown Court was told
31 MAR 2017
Richard Saunders, 34, from Normanby, leaving Teesside Crown Court after he was given a suspended prison sentence for making indecent photographs of children.
A shame-faced man caught with child abuse images was spared jail by a judge who did not believe he would act out his fantasies.
Richard Saunders’ home was searched and forensic examination revealed indecent pictures of children on a hard drive and a phone.
He had 376 illegal images of children, including 17 at the most serious level in law, Teesside Crown Court heard on Thursday.
They involved children as young as six and nine and included 78 videos lasting a total of 25 hours.
Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said: “There’s a large number of different victims, different children, shown.
“There was evidence of searches for online child abuse on another device.”
Saunders, 34, of Hollywalk Avenue, Normanby, accepted he was responsible for downloading the images from the internet when he knew it was wrong.
He admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children.
Nigel Soppitt, defending, said Saunders was deeply ashamed and “full of contrition”.
He said Saunders could not explain his behaviour: “He simply doesn’t know why he’s delved into these shady excesses of the internet.
“He’s sought help where he can.”
He described Saunders’ problems over the years including his father’s sudden death and health problems such as collapses and verbal dyspraxia, which caused difficulties expressing himself and understanding others.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said: “Was I of the view that there was a risk of him carrying out his fantasies into reality, then he would be locked up immediately.
“But I’m not of that view.”
Sentencing, he told Saunders: “This is not a crime without victims.
“The victims are the young children who are forced into carrying out the acts that are portrayed in the photographs and videos.
“Men in your position try and deny their sexual interest in children. They often claim to have come across these images by accident.”
He referred to Saunders’ claim to a probation officer that he was searching for something else online and happened upon the illegal images.
“That was a complete lie,” said the judge.
“You were carrying out direct and specific searches for child pornography for your own sexual prurient interest, and that’s a danger in this case.”
He said if Saunders were jailed he would not get help for his problems inside.
Taking into account Saunders’ age, previous good character and keeping out of trouble since his arrest, he passed a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 30 days’ rehabilitation activity.
Saunders was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register.