Child sex abuse images among the worst I've ever seen, says judge
A PAEDOPHILE who had some of the worst images of sexual child abuse a judge had ever seen has been jailed for 19 months.
David Austin, 44, had built up a collection of "vile" photographs and films on his computer and mobile phone and was sharing them with other perverts online.
Sentencing him at Bristol Crown Court yesterday, Judge Julian Lambert, who has been administering justice on the Western Circuit for eight years, said: "The images are among the worst I have ever seen."
Prosecuting, Peter Coombe said police searched Austin's home on Eastwood Road, Brislington, on September 8 last year.
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On a computer and mobile phone they found 1,420 still images and 180 moving ones, depicting child pornography and abuse.
Of the still images, 354 were of level four and five – the two most extreme categories of child abuse images. And of the films, 111 were of those two categories.
The court heard Austin was candid with police, telling them he used a file sharing programme on his computer to allow others to see the images.
He also admitted going on internet chat rooms and engaging in "sick fantasy chat" about abusing children as young as six.
Austin had three previous warnings – two from Avon and Somerset and one from Wiltshire police – about comments he had posted on the internet.
Mr Coombe said some of the search engine terms he had typed into his computer included "toddler" and "young child".
Austin admitted 18 counts of making indecent images by downloading them.
The court heard he had previous convictions for dishonesty and was subject to a suspended prison sentenced for producing cannabis when he committed the latest offences.
Judge Lambert sentenced Austin to 16 months' prison for the indecent images and three months for breaching his suspended sentence.
He imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) that includes restrictions including ordering him to make available, on request from police, any computers or devices on which he uses the internet.
Mitigating, Brendon Moorhouse said his client had co-operated with the police throughout their investigation, even admitting more serious activity than he needed to. He said Austin was not a very good "joined-up thinker".
Judge Lambert ordered the incriminating computer and phone to be destroyed and Austin will be on the Sex Offenders' Register.
After the case, Sergeant Mike Parminter, of Avon and Somerset's Child Abuse Team (ICAT), described the images found as vile.
He said: "Online offenders who think their offending only happens in cyberspace should know they will face justice in the real world, as happened with this case today."