A PAEDOPHILE from Francis Thomas has avoided being sent to prison despite making indecent images of children since a suspended custodial sentence was imposed on him.
Francis Thomas, 67, of North Road, was given “one last chance” by Judge David Owen-Jones during a sentencing hearing at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday.
Thomas had pleaded guilty to making nine category C indecent images of children between January 1 and May 3 this year at a hearing at the same court on July 13.
The court heard that an IP address relating to the defendant’s home address was used to upload images of children to the internet.
Thomas was arrested on May 3 at Laindon train station – he was taken to a police station where his property was searched.
The court was told that nine category C images of children posing provocatively, mostly girls aged between 10 and 15, were found on an Amazon Fire stick.
Thomas was also sentenced for breaching a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) that had been placed on him when he had been served with an eight month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, in December after admitting seven indecent, extreme and prohibited images charges.
Those charges related to possessing 203 still and moving category A indecent images of children, 344 category B images and 1,323 category C images as well as distributing two category C indecent images, possessing 47 extreme pornographic images and possessing 103 prohibited images of children.
The court heard the breach of the SHPO related to a Clean Master application, for deleting internet history.
At an earlier hearing, the court had been told the application was found on a mobile phone by police officers after a search of Thomas’ address on December 9.
The officers also found six category C indecent images of a child, namely girls between the age of nine and 14, on an Amazon Fire Kindle tablet during the search.
The court was told at a hearing in March that the images had actually been downloaded to the device in November 2015.
Thomas had previously admitted breaching the SHPO and downloading the images, but sentencing for those charges, first scheduled for January, was deferred by Judge Owen-Jones at a hearing in March.
Judge Owen-Jones today told Thomas: “You have been in custody now for in effect a two-month sentence.
“It cannot have been very pleasant for a man of your age.
“Bearing in mind your age and reports that I have received from probation, I am giving you one last chance.”
For breaching the suspended sentence imposed in December, Judge Owen-Jones increased the operational part of his suspended sentence from 18 to 24 months.
A 36 month community order was imposed on Thomas as well as recommendations for him to attend an internet sex offenders treatment programme, and a rehabilitation activity requirement of 60 days.
But the judge warned Thomas that he would “go straight inside” if he breached the order and added: “You are lucky, you could have gone inside for 12 months.”