A SOUTHEND man told police his collection of 70,000 child sex images was his ’dirty secret’.
Barry Jones, 47, of Burnaby Road, said in police interviews that he had ’an addiction’ to indecent photographs and videos of children.
A court heard he had collected a ’very extensive and broad range’ of images, ’from young babies right through to older children, in a variety of different poses, including penetrative and non-penetrative acts’.
He told the officers that he would masturbate while he viewed the images, often whilst ’off my face on drink and weed’.
He amassed the vast collection because he would grow ’bored’ of the images and go ’trying to find the next one’. He described viewing the images as a ’regular pastime’.
His comments were made public as he was sentenced last Thursday, June 29, at Basildon Crown Court.
Jones downloaded so many images that police gave up categorising them after the first 20,000.
The court heard a magistrate granted police a warrant to search Jones’ home on December 20 last year, after his IP address – a unique series of numbers which can pinpoint an internet user’s location – was linked to the downloading of indecent images.
Police seized a number of devices – including laptops and hard drives – from which forensic digital experts retrieved 71,233 indecent images.
They included 1,958 still images and 279 films classed as ’Category A’ – the worst level of child abuse images, which ’involve penetrative sexual activity’ or ’involve sexual activity with an animal or sadism’.
He also had 3,024 images and 48 films classed as ’Category B’ and 13,275 images and 44 films classed as ’Category C’.
After examining those 18,628 files, Essex Police left the remaining 52,605 uncategorised.
A force spokesman said: “These were not graded as, due to the volume found, the above categorisation of a sample of the images found was sufficient to secure a prosecution.”
Jones’ crimes were so shocking that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) issued a statement.
It said: “Jones’ sickening collection of images shows children being seriously abused. Each image is a crime scene with a victim who will need long-lasting support.
In mitigation, the court heard Jones ’felt isolated socially, from family and partnerships’ and had become ’reliant on alcohol and drugs’.
He was ’anxious’ and ’emotional’ and that his problems likely stemmed from issues during his childhood, which were not detailed in open court.
Judge John Lodge said Jones’ offending was aggravated by, “the number of images, the number of moving images and the fact that you were viewing this filth over a lengthy period of time.”
But he said that although Jones was eligible for a 12-month prison sentence, he would spare him a jail term so that he could be treated and monitored for an extended period of time.
He sentenced Jones to a 36-month community order, with a requirement that he complete the Internet Sex Offender Treatment Programme.
In addition, he was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service – plus another 50 for an unrelated charge of possessing two bullets without a licence – and to pay £500 court costs.
Jones was made the subject of a 15-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, allowing police to carry out spot checks at his home and search his computers. He must also sign the Sex Offenders Register for the duration of the order.
Judge Lodge warned Jones that if he slipped up at all, he would go to prison, saying: “Any further offending, you come back before me, I lock you up. I can’t make it any simpler than that.”
The NSPCC said: “Abuse images online is a growing problem and the war on them is just beginning. The NSPCC is calling on Government, law enforcement and internet providers to commit resources and expertise to prevent this abhorrent material being published.
“Prevention and rehabilitation must be a priority to protect children, so it is vital that Jones completes the treatment programme handed to him.”
Adults with concerns about children or online child abuse images can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.