A former missionary and pensioner who is addicted to child porn has escapred a prison sentence after committing a second offence.
Brian Mead, 70, of Shepherds Way, Saffron Walden, who had downloaded 19 images of scantily clad girls aged 10-16 on his mobile phone was instead made the subject of a three year community order.
The church-goer has been put under supervision, told he must attend a sexual offender treatment programme, and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.
Mead’s wife of 48 years found out his secret through a private company that was monitoring her husbands’s internet usage, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
She ordered him to confess to police straight away – which he did.
The pensioner, who is no longer allowed contact with his grandshildren, pleaded guilty to one offence of making, or downloading, 19 indecent images of children, at the lowest level one, on October 2 last year at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Mead, a former agricultural missionary in Africa, had previously been given a community order in 2005 for 12 similar offences.
Judge David Turner QC described him as an addict but said both he and the public would be better served by not sending him to prison.
A combination of the voluntary counselling and work Mead was undergoing and the rigorous sentencing programme could “manage finally to put to rest this demon” the judge added.
The judge said: “Had not your wife taken the resolute course she did when she discovered this further fall into pornography this would never have been discovered at all.
“She challenged you and you went voluntarily to police where you made a clean breast.
“You had tried to cheat by acquiring this mobile because there was protective software on your computer and that’s a depressing indication of the level of addiction which is still not far below the surface.”
Referring to the fact that Mead is banned from communicating with his grandchildren, the judge added: “This is a great evil and it’s addictive qualities can derail lives. You have paid a high price for this addictive behaviour.”
Prosecutor Richard Stevens said Mead handed over his mobile to police containing the 19 images of five different children aged 10 to 16. They were posing in bikinis and underwear and were scantily clad.
Mitigating, Peter Barlex said Mead’s family and church were supportive of him. When he upgraded his mobile it wasn’t the same model as his computer.
“It led him into temptation,” said Mr Barlex.
He said that at the time, Mead was suffering from depression and illness, adding: “There were specific reasons for the relapse and it will not be repeated”.
Saffron Walden News