School caretaker had images of child abuse
A SCHOOL caretaker who expressed a desire to sexually abuse a little girl and was found with child abuse pictures has been given a three-year community order.
Mark Hammond was working and living at Ashton Park Secondary School when his ambition was discovered posted on an internet chatroom site.
Police who raided his home investigated his computer and found he had downloaded some 750 images of youngsters being abused, Bristol Crown Court heard.
Hammond, 47, of Crosscombe Drive, Withywood, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of making indecent photographs of a child, from February to March last year.
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Judge Mark Horton told him: "I have read all the papers and the report, I have seen the images and I take the view that while you are a sad, depraved, damaged man you have gained enjoyment from viewing sexual material of a serious and depraved kind.
"The young participants will have been damaged for life.
"By the events which enabled these photographs to be taken they are left with a nightmare for the rest of their life, knowing depraved men like you will be viewing that material."
The judge said however, ex-Army man Hammond was intelligent and of previous good character and wanted to understand what led him to offend in the way he had.
Hammond was told he would be supervised for three years and undergo a sex offender programme.
He was barred from working with children and vulnerable people for life and told to register as a sex offender for five years.
Mark Humphries, prosecuting, told the court: "Mr Hammond left two messages on a mobile chat room indicating that he had a sexual interest in young children and he wanted to sexually abuse a little girl.
"Police executed a search warrant at his home at the school and his laptop computer was searched. He was suspended, arrested and interviewed and he admitted he became interested in images of children and he viewed them on the internet."
Mr Humphries said that while 484 of the images were classified in the lowest "posing" category, 89 depicted the second highest category, showing sexual activity.
Children involved were as young as two or three, the court was told.
In a second interview Hammond admitted viewing the images found and said he became addicted to viewing porn but denied he was attracted to children.
George Threlfall, defending, said his client was charged with a three-and-a-half week stint of downloading child abuse photos and 700 images would be viewed by police as a "low number case".
He stressed his client was a surfer of the internet, rather than a saver who squirrelled away material in hidden files.
Mr Threlfall said: "He was not saving and he was not distributing. He viewed them for a short period of time, he realised they were utterly depraved and he declined to view them again."
Hammond, who was suspended from work when the matter came to light, has since resigned from his job.