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Man jailed over indecent photos

PUBLISHED: 11:03 06 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 05 July 2010

A FAMILY man is behind bars after he admitted downloading more than 15,000 indecent photographs of children as young as 18 months.

Stephen Harris, of Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft, was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Ipswich Crown Court and was also ordered to be put on the sex offenders register for the next ten years.

A FAMILY man is behind bars after he admitted downloading more than 15,000 indecent photographs of children as young as 18 months.

Stephen Harris, of Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft, was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Ipswich Crown Court and was also ordered to be put on the sex offenders register for the next ten years.

Factory worker Harris, a father of two and step-father of one, pleaded guilty to 17 offences of having 15,320 indecent images of children on his computer, ranging from 18 months old to 13 years old. There were also 189 moving images discovered.

The photos varied in levels of severity, yet more than 1,000 of them were of a particularly serious nature.

It was also heard that the 51-year-old saved a number of the images on discs.

Prosecuting Robert Saddsaid: “He made a collection of discs which shows this is not an isolated incident or activity. I do not want to give the impression that the photos were just of older children. Some of them involved children aged two to four, and one was 18 months old.”

Mitigating on his behalf, Richard Potts, said: “Mr Harris has absolutely no understanding of why he allowed himself to get into this position.

“He cannot justify his conduct in his own mind, let alone in this court. He is acutely aware that this conduct, whilst entirely reprehensible, also had a marked adverse effect on his family. He cannot begin to justify why he did it. An interest in adult pornography triggered a curiosity. He now wants to try and resolve these issues.”

Mr Potts explained that Harris has remained with his partner since his crimes were discovered although he has moved out of the family home.

Although Mr Potts argued that imprisonment would mean Harris would lose his job, which would lead to financial difficulties for his family, Judge Peter Thompson ordered an immediate custodial sentence.

Judge Thompson said: “You know that images and films like these exploit children. You knew it was wrong to engage in downloading them but you still went and did it. You put them on a disc and as you've explained, it became an obsession.

“I accept that you have expressed remorse. However you were not just dabbling-you were spending several hours downloading thousands of images.”

As well as the prison sentence, he was also given a sexual offences prevention order. It was ordered that the computer and discs are destroyed.

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