North Kesteven

Paedophile pensioner caught with 85,000 child images

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A Lincolnshire pensioner, who was caught with over 85,000 unlawful images of children as young as two, has been jailed for three and half years.

Judge Andrew Easteal described the volume of material accumulated by Christopher Hart, 72, as extraordinary.

The judge also praised the “tireless” investigation which was carried out by police after they searched Hart’s former Cranwell home in December 2015.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Hart suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and had accumulated the moving and still images over a 13 year period.

The court was told Hart used sophisticated encryption software to hide much of the material which he catalogued with obsessive detail.

Some of the children depicted in the images were as young as two years of age, the court heard. Over 2,000 of the still and moving images of children were in the most serious category of A.

Hart, now of Robinson Place, Brant Broughton pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children, making indecent images of children and possessing prohibited images.

Jeremy Janes, mitigating, said not one of the indecent images accumulated over 13 years had been shown or distributed to anyone else.

Mr Janes also handed the court letters which outlined Hart’s diagnosis of OCD and his frail health after suffering three heart attacks.

“Over the years he also catalogued vast amounts of other material,” Mr Janes added.

“Every single image published by National Geographic was on his hard drive.

“Every episode of detective series from the 1960s and 1970s were on his hard drive. Every episode of the Darling Buds of May was on his hard drive.”

Passing sentence Judge Andrew Easteal made it clear those who view such images were not simply spectators and their activity encouraged the continuing abuse of children.

Judge Easteal told Hart: “The total volume comes to 85,710 moving or still images, all of them unlawful. Many of them depicting very young children.”

Hart will also have to register as a sex offender for life and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

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