Herefordshire paedophile spared jail after indecent photos found

A PAEDOPHILE who downloaded more than 1,000 child porn pictures, including of a 12-month-old baby being raped, has been spared prison by a crown court judge.

Darren Dixon, 35, was told at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday that he faced up to three years in prison for having 323 category A indecent pictures of children, after a judge heard he had searched the internet for “incest”.

But Judge Martin Jackson said Dixon, of Bosbury near Ledbury, had taken steps to address his offending – which he admitted as soon as police raided his home – and was not a big risk to the public.

Prosecution barrister Peter Arnold said police received intelligence that Dixon was downloading illegal child porn pictures and his two mobile phones were seized after a search of his home in January 2019.

On the phones they found 323 category A images, 300 pictures and one video of category B, and 723 category C photos.

He said the category A pictures included a 12-month-old baby being raped, and pictures of children, aged between six and 12-year-old, with a man were amongst those in category B.

Category C pictures were of naked children, Mr Arnold told the court, and Dixon’s internet search history included terms such as “young teen”, “incest”, and “pre-teen children”.

Mr Arnold said there were also a large number of pictures on the phones which could not be viewed, and the offending happened over a 17-month period.

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Defence solicitor Mark Thompson said Dixon, who worked as a flood and fire restorer until his arrest, was of previous good character, and was a full-time carer for his disabled brother.

He admitted to police as soon as they searched his home that he had been accessing the illegal pictures, and admitted he had shared online links with other paedophiles.

Mr Thompson said Dixon became addicted to “lawful” porn at the age of 14 as he was “isolated” due to living “somewhat remotely”, but admitted viewing child pornography was “disgraceful” and he had shown “genuine remorse”.

Since being arrested, he had been paying for private therapy which was a benefit, the court heard, and admitted what he did was “disturbing, not natural and despicable”.

But Mr Thompson said Dixon was only of low risk to the public, and he was not interested in the pictures of the “very young children”.

The judge said Dixon faced up to three years in prison for the category A pictures, but because he voluntarily attended therapy after his arrest, he deserved “substantial credit”.

Dixon, who pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent pictures of children, was said to have a “realistic prospect of rehabilitation” without going to prison, so the judge sentenced him to a three-year community order.

As part of that order, he must work with the probation service, complete up to 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and carry out 180 hours unpaid work.

He was also told he would be subject of a sexual harm prevention order for five years, restricting his use of the internet.

But the judge said the order had to target the nature of offending, and as such Dixon would not be stopped from living with, or having unsupervised contact with, children aged under 16.

He had also signed the sex offenders’ register at an earlier court hearing, and must pay a statutory surcharge, prosecution costs and his two phones would be destroyed.

Hereford Times