Suspended sentence for man caught with almost 800 child porn images

Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A Suffolk man has been handed a suspended jail term after being caught with almost 800 indecent images of children on his computer.

John Waterson, of Hazel Drive, Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds, was also ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community and made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the next five years.

The 47-year-old was sentenced at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Monday after admitting three counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child at an earlier hearing in August.

Waterson was found to be in possession of two of the most serious ‘category A’ indecent images of a child on his computer equipment in February, as well as 49 category B images and 738 category C images.

Magistrates had previously requested pre-sentence reports be prepared by the probation service, which concluded that Waterson posed a “statistically low risk” of repeating the offence.


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The probation service reported that Waterson had arranged private counselling between his arrest and conviction.

Solicitor Claire Lockwood, mitigating, said Waterson had no previous convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands on his record, and that an immediate custodial sentence would have a detrimental effect on him and his family.

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She said Waterson was motivated to work with the probation service on complex issues, and that he was well aware of the consequences of breaching any orders imposed by magistrates as an alternative to prison.

“I agree the case crosses the custody threshold but submit there would be good reason to suspend the term,” she added.

Magistrates handed Waterson a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

They ordered him to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work in the community and complete 35 rehabilitation activity days.

Waterson was also made subject to a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which will include a requirement prohibiting the use of any device capable of accessing the internet unless it has the capability to retain and display the history of internet use.

All computer equipment seized as part of the investigation will be forfeited and destroyed.

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