Shamed lecturer downloaded child porn videos

Crown Court
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A disgraced ex-college lecturer who downloaded vile internet child porn, including videos of young girls being raped, has walked free from court.

Perverted Ian Smith (43) was caught in possession of almost 1,200 images of children being sexually abused, downloaded over 13 months, when police raided his home, Burnley Crown Court heard.

It’s quite an astonishing fall from grace for somebody who was a lecturer in a responsible academic subject. His life is in bits

Defence solicitor

The hearing was told Smith, at the time lecturing in sociology at Blackburn College, had been getting sexual pleasure looking at the repugnant pictures while his devoted partner of 25 years was in another room, marking work. The couple are now estranged.

Smith’s barrister said the defendant had had to acknowledge he had a “personality defect” and he needed help.

The defendant, of Meredith Street, Nelson, had admitted 13 counts of making indecent photographs of children, between January 1st 2013 and February 28th last year. All involved video files – three charges were of category A pictures, the most serious level, and the remaining allegations related to five category B and five category C films. He also pleaded guilty to one allegation of possessing indecent photographs of children on February 27th last year, involving 22 still images at category A, 244 at category B and 908 at category C.

Smith, who had no previous convictions, was given 16 months in jail, suspended for two years, with two years’ supervision. He must attend the internet sexual offenders’ treatment programme, was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and received a five-year sexual harm prevention order, which allows police to monitor his internet use.

Prosecutor Mr Francis McEntee told the hearing the offences came to the attention of the police following information provided by CEOP, who deal with child exploitation online.

Officers went to Smith’s address on February 27th and when they asked who might have known about the downloading of indecent images, the defendant raised his hand and said: “I probably have.”

Mr McEntee said Smith directed officers to a computer which he indicated he had used to download the photos.

Mr McEntee said one of the category A videos showed a man having sex with a girl aged about eight years old. A second film showed a girl of about six years and a man was having sex with a 12-year-old girl in the third video.

The defendant had a total of 25 images at category A, 249 images at category B, showing girls aged between nine and 12 and a total of 913 pictures at category C, which involved both boys and girls, aged between eight and 12, sexually posing in video and still images.

Mr McEntee added: “The defendant is of hitherto unblemished character. There is no evidence of distribution or storing in any sense.”

Mr Robert Elias (defending) said his world had been brought crashing down.

“There seems to be a suggestion that he was drinking too much, that that disinhibited him and he started messing around on the internet.”

Mr Elias said to have any sexual interest in the abuse of young children and paedophilia was “loathsome” to all right-thinking people and abhorrent to people and the courts.

The barrister told the court since his arrest Smith had paid for a 10-week programme at a child protection charity as a first step. Mr Elias continued: “He realises that he has got a problem. He also realises he has got a problem with drink. I have suggested to him that Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the best way forward.”

Mr Elias said Smith, who hoped to reconcile with his partner in due course, was deeply upset and contrite about what he did.

“It’s quite an astonishing fall from grace for somebody who was a lecturer in a responsible academic subject. His life is in bits.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt said the vast majority of the pictures were at category C, but the number of images at category A could not be said to be small.

She told the defendant: “Now exposed to the world is your repugnant behaviour when you obtained sexual gratification from downloading and possessing images involving the rapes of small children and small children otherwise being sexually abused. You will no longer ever have the image of respectability.”