Leamington businessman jailed for owning child porn

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An ‘otherwise respectable’ Leamington businessman who downloaded and viewed child pornography has been jailed.

Geoffrey Clark had pleaded guilty to five charges of possessing indecent images of children and two of possessing extreme pornography showing acts of bestiality.

Clark, 57, of The Fairways, Leamington, at the time, was jailed for eight months by a judge at Coventry Crown Court who also ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Kevin Saunders, prosecuting, said that when the police executed a warrant at Clark’s home in December 2014 and told him the reason, he volunteered that he was solely responsible for the indecent images on various devices.

Four devices were seized, and on two of them, a Lenovo laptop and an i-Pad, officers subsequently more than 1,000 indecent images of children of varying degrees of seriousness including some which were in category A - the most serious.

In addition the police found 11 stills and 32 movies of extreme pornography involving acts of bestiality between adult females and animals, said Mr Saunders.

When Clark was interviewed, he made full admissions, explaining that he had used a peer-to-peer software program to obtain the images, which he said he had viewed intermittently over the previous two years for sexual gratification.

Caroline Goodwin, defending, accepted Clark had searched for the images, but said a doctor’s report indicated ‘how it was a man of good standing came to be looking at this material.’

He was diagnosed as suffering from a depressive episode, but accepted that after looking for pornography he ‘progressed to material of this nature,’ which he repeatedly went back to view.

“Mr Clark, once he was arrested by the police, made immediate admissions; and since he was arrested he has sought professional advice. He is ashamed and sorry.”

And Judge Philip Gregory remarked: “I accept he is ashamed. He’s a graduate and he ran his own business. He lived with his wife and family, and has now moved out and moved into a flat in Nuneaton.”

Miss Goodwin said: “This has driven his family apart. The issue is now how one begins to grapple with this. He has begun to address his offending.

“Your Honour is entitled to draw back from the sentencing guidelines. He has undoubtedly learned his lesson,” she added, asking the judge to follow the recommendation in a pre-sentence report.

But the judge responded: “He would have carried on if they had not executed the search warrant. It would have been more compelling if he had voluntarily abstained from this before his arrest.”

And jailing Clark, who has been living at an address in Edward Street, Nuneaton, since leaving the family home, Judge Gregory told him: “You are an otherwise respectable and hard-working man who ran your own business for many years.

“You led a blameless life. It is therefore particularly regrettable to see someone like you in the dock, having been involved in offending of such a grave nature.

“You abused an internet facility in order to search for pornographic images of children for your own sexual gratification.

“I’ve considered the excellent mitigation put forward on your behalf and a reference from your friend, and well understand you have, in effect, come to your senses and are unlikely to engage in such offences again.

“But when courts pass sentence the purpose is multi-faceted, and it includes not only rehabilitation of the offender, but punishment for the crime and deterrence.

“These are not victimless crimes.

“The victims are the poor benighted children who have been cruelly abused for the purpose of making these images.

“They are truly abhorrent.

“My public duty, I am satisfied, means I have to pass an immediate custodial sentence. I cannot let you walk free from this court today.”