Mablethorpe

Man found with over 1,000 child sex abuse photos

A Marshchapel man who admitted downloading indecent images of children on his home computer was today jailed for ten months.

Michael Austin, 58, was caught with a “significant volume” of illegal child sex abuse images after police raided his home in Sea Dyke Way.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the images included a small number of movies and some of “pre-teen”children.

Noel Phylo, prosecuting, said officers executed the search warrant on March 29 after police received information that an internet address was being used to download indecent images of children.

Police seized a computer tower and three hard drives from Austin who told officers that anything found on the devices was nothing to do with his wife.

In total, police found 125 indecent images in the most serious Category of A, 172 images in Category B and 738 images in Category C.

A total of 19 images of extreme pornography were also recovered.

Mark Watson, mitigating, told the court Austin had no previous convictions.

Mr Watson said: “The reality is, not to embarrass him, is that these images were a very small part of what was on his computer. The preponderance was perfectly lawful material.

“What he says about the ages is that the majority were around the 16 year old mark.”

Mr Watson added that since his arrest Austin had taken online courses with the “Stop It Now Campaign,” and that both he and his blamless wife had been ostracised by the community they were living in.

“It is 15 months since he was searched, raided, interviewed and arrested.

“At the time he had recently moved in to a reasonably small village, they engaged in village life, but as a result of this they have been completely ostracised.”

Mr Watson said Austin’s wife was totally blameless but lost her job just a day after his appearance at magistrates court was reported.

“There has already been a huge fall out from this, they will have to move.”

Austin, 58, of Sea Dyke Way, Marshchapel, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children and one charge of possessing extreme pornography over a ten year period.

He was sentenced to ten months imprisonment and must also register as a sex offender for ten years. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which will last for five years.

Passing sentence Judge Andrew Easteal told Austin he could not suspend his jail sentence because of the significant volume of images and the number of different children involved.

The judge told him: “It is vital anyone who commits these offences understands the level of blame and responsibility for what they see.”