Lincolnshire

Firefighter who downloaded child abuse images spared jail

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A firefighter who downloaded child pornography has been spared an immediate jail sentence by a judge.

Adam Carter, 39, attracted the attention of police when he was linked to users of a file sharing site on the internet.

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said that as a result officers raided Carter’s then home in Abbey Drive, Woodhall Spa, in November 2017 and seized a number of electronic devices.

When the items were examined pornographic images of children which dated back to 2007 and 2008 were found on a computer hard drive. Most were downloaded from the internet but a short video clip was found which Carter had filmed.

Mr Lody said: “It was found he had been making indecent images as far back as 2007.

“The defendant is of extremely positive character. Apart from working as a tradesman he has also been a member of the fire service and as a result of that has garnered many plaudits.

“Unfortunately the predilection that he has badly let himself down.

“Police received information from a well-regarded source that images were being shared on a peer-to-peer file sharing site.

“A warrant was executed at his home address and devices were seized and examined.”

Mr Lody said that seven of the images were in the most serious category and a further 10 pornographic images of children were found on the hard drive. A short video clip which Carter had filmed himself was found together with an extreme pornographic image featuring bestiality.

The prosecutor said: “He was interviewed. He made denials but has now pleaded guilty.”

Carter, 39, whose address was given as Woodhall Road, Horncastle, admitted three charges of taking an indecent image of a child, one charge of making an indecent image of a child and one charge of possession of an extreme pornographic image.

Alphege Bell, in mitigation, said: “The defendant appears before you as a broken man. He has lost his good name. He has lost his marriage. He has lost his home and he has lost his job in terms of the fire service. He is now engaged in the process of divorce.

“There are good and positive reasons to suspend the sentence that you might otherwise pass.

“He is of positive good character and has shown genuine remorse. He is deeply remorseful for what he did.”

He said that Carter has since undergone counselling to address his issues.

Mr Bell added that Carter had shown bravery during his time with the fire service and received an award for an incident off duty when he saved the lives of two people after their car crashed into a wall and burst into flames.

Carter was given a 16 month jail sentence suspended for two years with two years supervision. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and given a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Simon Hirst told him: “On balance it seems to me proper to suspend your prison sentence for these reasons.

“First of all your good character in terms of previous convictions. Secondly that you have undergone counselling and addressed the issues that you have.

“Thirdly, and most important of all, you have behaved in other circumstances in a truly heroic fashion and you have saved the lives of two people.

“It seems to me that on balance those matters save you from an immediate sentence of custody.”