Convicted Paedophile Spared Jail After Judge Sympathises Over Press Coverage
Thur 17th May 2012 , Yellow Advertiser
A PAEDOPHILE has been spared jail and instead ordered to spend up to 160 hours communicating with other sex criminals.
Barry Tucker, 50, of Orchard Close in South Ockendon, was eligible for up to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing indecent images of children.
In a hearing at Basildon Crown Court, Judge David Owen-Jones said the starting point was 26 weeks imprisonment, with a range of four to 18 months.
However, the judge - who had viewed a selection of the images - instead gave him a three-year community order and told him to attend between 120 and 160 hours of group therapy with other sex offenders.
He cited 'exceptional circumstances', telling Tucker that he sympathised over the embarrassment he must have felt when a previous court hearing was reported in the press.
Tucker was snared by Essex Police after a ‘legitimate website’, not named in court, discovered that paedophiles were using its servers to share indecent images of children.
Tucker's computer was found to have accessed the images.
When police seized his laptop computer in April last year, they discovered 354 indecent images of children. One image was level five – considered the most shocking and graphic - and 53 were level four.
Prosecutor Matthew Bagnall told the court that the images featured children aged four to eight years old engaged in penetrative sex.
Tucker's laptop also yielded several indecent moving images of children.
Also on the computer were 1,493 images of extreme pornography.
Police found several DVDs at Tucker's address featuring extreme pornography.
Six DVDs showed adults engaging in sexual activity with animals including dogs, horses, pigs and a tiger.
Another DVD showed 'serious injury to the genitals of a person'.
Tucker was arrested and admitted in interview that he had repeatedly viewed the images out of 'curiosity'.
However, he denied being aroused by the images and said he had not masturbated over them.
Defence barrister Leanne Evans told the judge: “He doesn't know why he's done the things he's pleaded guilty to doing.”
Judge Owen-Jones responded: “He knows jolly well why he's done it and that is for some form of gratification.”
The judge viewed the level five image and some of the level four images before passing his sentence.
He described the level five image as 'horrifying'.
However, he told Tucker that 'exceptional circumstances' had helped him escape a jail term.
He said the recent death of Tucker's mother was a relevant factor and also cited the embarrassment of a previous court hearing being reported in the press.
He said: “I bear in mind the humiliation that you must have sustained by these matters becoming public.”
He added: “Particularly, I'm impressed that you acknowledge that possession of material of this kind has become habit for you and that you are seeking help to try to conquer it from professionals.”
He gave Tucker the three-year community order and told him to sign the sex offenders' register for five years.
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