An Ellesmere Port man has been spared immediate prison despite admitting possessing indecent images.
Paul David Stuckey, of Belgrave Road in Ellesmere Port, was handed 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, when he appeared to be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday (October 13). He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.
Stuckey, 27, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to seven charges in total relating to the possession and distribution of indecent images of children, including one count of possessing 286 Category C images, and one count of possessing Category A images.
Prosecutor Mandy Nepal told the court that when police had raided Stuckey’s address, they had found a number of electronic devices in his bedroom.
When the seized items were initially analysed by the police, the “majority” of them contained indecent material, Ms Nepal said, but the police only fully analysed two specific devices.
Ms Nepal said that the device analysis showed that the defendant had used indicative search terms to seek out the indecent material, and that files with “indicative names” had also been downloaded by him.
There was also software on the devices that Stuckey had used to edit some of the images.
Ms Nepal added that in his police interview, Stuckey denied knowing that the Category A images were on his computer, but said that they must have come as part of a “pack” of adult pornography that he had downloaded.
He also accepted that he had distributed some of the images to “friends” he had made on a “forum for adult pornography”, the court heard.
Ms Nepal said that Stuckey had described them as “friends”, but Judge Patrick Thompson interjected by saying: “I would describe them as perverts.”
Chris Hunt, appearing on behalf of Stuckey, told the court his client had accepted he had developed a “very unhealthy interest in all sorts of sexual aspects”, which Mr Hunt said the defendant recognised he needed to change.
Mr Hunt said: “He is somebody who, ordinarily, leads a good and useful life but lacking in other leisure pursuits, has consumed huge amounts of his time, since a young age, downloading enormous amounts of pornography.
“II think he has downloaded huge files of pornography most of which it seems is adult, but in which there are images which are unlawful.”
Mr Hunt added Stuckey had been honest and candid with probation staff about his problem as they compiled a pre-sentence report, saying Stuckey had “turned a corner”, admitting to the offences, accepting he has a problem and saying he wants help.
As well as the suspended prison sentence, Judge Patrick Thompson also ordered Stuckey to carry out a 35 day rehabilitation activity requirement and take part in a sex offenders rehabilitation programme. He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.
Judge Thompson said it was extremely disturbing that Stuckey had distributed indecent images to what he called “other like-minded perverts”.
He added: “You are an abuser of children. By downloading these images you encourage others to abuse children. They would not have been abused if it was not for men with an unhealthy and sick interest in seeing those images - you are one of those men.
“I do not accept for a minute that this (indecent material) just appeared - you went looking for it.
“It all shows a dark and sinister side to you, that needs to be addressed.”