The delay in a Warwick man getting dealt with for viewing child abuse on his computer was ‘no-one’s fault but his,’ after he had fought the case right up to the day of his trial.
But Shawn Perks finally admitted responsibility, and pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of making indecent images of children.
Perks (48) of Humphris Street, Warwick, was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ programme and a rehabilitation activity.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC, also ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years and to pay £250 costs.
Prosecutor Simon Burch said that in November 2015 the police went to Perks’s home where they seized a laptop computer and an external hard drive.
In the ‘unallocated space’ on the hard drive they found a total of 325 indecent images of children, while the laptop had a program for anonymous browsing on it.
But Perks had been using search terms which indicated an interest in sexual activity involving under-age children including ‘pre-teen’ and incest.
The searches had taken place between late February and early March 2015, on a date in June 2014 and a day in November the previous year.
Of the images on the hard drive, which were recovered using specialist software, were 21 in category A.
There were 36 category B images and the remaining 268 images were category C.
Mr Burch pointed out: “They had not been downloaded per se. It was consistent with him viewing them, but not storing them deliberately on his hard drive.”
He said Perks had originally denied the charges, and two computer experts had to be instructed, one for the defence and one for the prosecution, before issues over the computer were resolved and he changed his pleas on the day of his trial last month.
Andrew Tucker, defending, said: “The question is whether Your Honour can deal with him in a way which doesn’t involve him being sent immediately to prison.”
He argued that the offences were ‘now quite old,’ to which Judge Lockhart retorted: “That’s no-one’s fault but his. He knew full well he had looked for and viewed images of pre-teens.”
Mr Tucker pointed out that the images seemed to have been accessed over a short period of about eight days, and had been deleted and were inaccessible to Perks.
“He is a vulnerable man. This behaviour seems to have occurred at a time when he was at a pretty low ebb emotionally and personally, and has not been repeated.
“It is the view of the pre-sentence report author that he is somebody who can be punished, and no doubt helped at the same time, by a suitably structures community order,” he added.
Sentencing Perks, Judge Lockhart told him: “These matters could have been concluded so very long ago, but you chose to adopt a position of denial, which was most unfortunate.
“Between 2012 and 2015 you, on a number of days, deliberately searched for indecent images of children which you had an interest in, one which you sought to deny.
“You instructed counsel to fight the case tooth and nail when you knew full well you had had access to this material.
“Each time an image like that is viewed by someone like you that abuse of that child who has been raped continues. Those images remain on the internet for a very long time while those children grow into adults.”