Burnley child porn man had images of babies on computer

Burnley Crown Court

Burnley Crown Court

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A DAD who downloaded child porn had an image of babies with details on how to abuse young children – Burnley Crown Court was told.

Former computer worker Andrew Halsted (29) got sexual gratification from looking at obscene pictures of schoolgirls.

The court was told that when police turned up to raid his Burnley home after catching him through a Croatian website, they found hundreds of stills and video clips of children, some of them at the most serious level, obtained using a particular form of software.

Halsted, who sobbed as the hearing was told how social services had become involved in the care of his child because of the charges, admitted 13 charges of making an indecent image of a child between February 2008 and December 2009. The defendant, of Moore Street, had no previous convictions.

Judge Jonathan Gibson told Halsted that he had to consider what was the best option for the long-term protection of children and the community generally. He said that the defendant’s actions had crossed the custody threshold, but added: ”It seems to me rehabilitative intervention is the appropriate order for me to make.”

Halsted was given a three-year community order with supervision and must attend the internet sex offender programme. He also received a sex offences prevention order, restricting his use of the internet. He must not use or own a computer or other device with internet access, unless it has software to prevent access to child porn. The defendant was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

Prosecutor Sarah Statham said that in December 2009, police went to Halsted’s house and seized computer equipment. Officers discovered three video images at level five – the most serious on the 1 to 5 scale, 35 videos and two stills at level four, 20 images at levels two and three and 297 stills at level one. Many of the images featured young girls under 13 and one showed babies with details on how to abuse young children.

Miss Statham said that when the defendant was questioned, he told police he had used a file-sharing programme. Halsted said that he had been doing it about two years and had first linked up to a website in Croatia. He said that he got sexual gratification from the images and needed help. The defendant claimed it had been a progression from adult porn, he knew it was wrong and he was ashamed.

Philip Holden (defending) said Halsted had always been employed in computers and had been a hard-working, industrious and decent member of society. He added that, as a result of Halsted’s arrest, social services has become involved in the care of his child and his partner and child had moved out of the family home.