Man, 52, caught with 25,000 indecent images of children avoids jail

Xhevahir Axhami, 29, will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court next month.

Michael Davidson, previously Michael Garling, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A former Bury St Edmunds man who was caught in possession of more than 25,000 indecent images of children has avoided an immediate prison sentence.  

Police executed a warrant at the previous home of Michael Davidson, 52, in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, on December 10, 2020, following a referral from the National Crime Agency, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

Davidson, who changed his name from Michael Garling in August 2021, was open to officers at the scene about his interest in teenage boys, Rachel Law, prosecuting, told the court. 

He also admitted to police that they would find indecent material on his hard drives and cooperated with officers throughout, the court heard. 

An iPhone and a number of hard drives were seized by police and further analysis revealed 3,472 images of the most serious kind - category A - and 1,634 videos of that level. 

A further 5,327 category B images were found, with 1,447 videos, along with 16,405 images and 23 videos of category C. 

Two prohibited images of children were also discovered as well as extreme pornographic images involving animals.

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Many of the images involved teenage boys aged between 12 and 16, Ms Law told the court. 

Davidson, now of Catharine Street, Cambridge, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children, possessing prohibited images of a child and possessing extreme pornographic images involving animals. 

Davidson, who had no previous convictions, did inform police of his name change, the court previously heard. 

Davidson, who was represented at the hearing by Lori Tucker, has engaged with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation - a charity dedicated to preventing child sex abuse - and a number of other courses since the images were discovered, the court heard. 

Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Samantha Leigh said she was prepared to suspend the sentence. 

Davidson was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, with 60 rehabilitation activity days and 100 hours of unpaid work. 

A sexual harm prevention order was also imposed and Davidson was ordered to pay a £300 contribution to court costs.