A PAEDOPHILE who downloaded thousands of still and moving images of children has been jailed.
Richard Wilson, of Fitzpaine Close, West Parley, was snared by Dorset Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) as part of a national operation targeting sex offenders.
The 50-year-old admitted 16 counts of possessing indecent images of children ranging from category A – the most serious – to C.
Police discovered a total of 8,553 photographs and 246 moving images on his computer.
Some of the films had been burned to DVD, including a 23-minute compilation showing the abuse of children.
Prosecuting, Stuart Ellacott said: “When police attended his address, Mr Wilson was present.
“The purpose of the warrant was explained. Asked if he knew what police were talking about, he replied, ‘Yes’.”
He said “several hundred” DVD discs were seized from Wilson’s home, and the defendant made “full and frank admissions” to police.
Further investigations revealed he had searched online for the initials PTHC, which stand for ‘pre-teen hardcore’.
Mitigating, Kevin Hill said Wilson had already began to seek help, and had admitted to feeling “relieved” after he was arrested.
“He describes himself as having an addiction to pornography, to indecent images,” he said.
“The pre-sentence report [prepared by the Probation Service] describes his intense feelings of guilt and shame.”
Mr Hill added: “He does understand the impact these sort of offences have on the children concerned – albeit he had entirely compartmentalised that.
“In effect, he has shut it out in the course of his offending, which he is not now doing.”
Judge Samuel Wiggs heard Wilson was “petrified” of prison, and told the offender: “It is particularly sad to see a person of your age, intelligence and otherwise exemplary character before the court for offences of this nature.
“But they are serious offences.”
He sentenced Wilson to eight months behind bars.
The defendant will also have to sign a sexual offences prevention order upon his release.
660 SUSPECTS ARRESTED
DORSET Police joined up with the National Crime Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers for the national six-month operation.
More than 660 suspected paedophiles have now been arrested across Britain.
Eight of those have been arrested by detectives in Dorset, including retired teacher Ian Bell, 66, who was charged with 20 offences of making and distributing indecent images of children.
Bell was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
SPECIAL UNIT ESTABLISHED
POLIT was established late last year as part of Dorset Police’s crackdown on those who use the internet to abuse children.
Acting Detective Superintendent and Director of Public Protection Chris Naughton, who is heading up the unit, told the Daily Echo there will be “zero tolerance” for such offences.
He added: “We are all dedicated to tackling this menace.”