A LONER who had nothing else to do but play computer games and look at indecent images of children and babies has escaped jail after being caught filming young girls playing in Helston.
Derek Champion, 35, was found to have 1,729 photographs of children believed to be aged between 12 months and ten years old on his computer when police searched his house.
Images downloaded by Champion included more than 500 at higher end of the scale which police use to categorise indecent images.
At Truro Crown Court on Friday, Elaine Hobson, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that on March 27, 2102, Champion, of Mount Hawke, whose full address cannot be revealed for legal reasons, was spotted filming four girls aged under 10.
The police were alerted and Champion, formerly of South Roskear Terrace, Camborne, who has a mild learning disability, was picked up in Helston by officers who found him to be in possession of a silver camcorder.
Ms Hobson said: “It did have some clips of those children playing in the garden.”
While the filming was not an offence it meant that police searched Champion’s address where they found his stash of child pornography.
Barrie Van den Berg, defending, said Champion, who pleaded guilty to 18 counts of making indecent photographs of children and of possessing extreme pornography, had difficulties communicating with people.
Sentencing, Judge John Neligan said that normally in cases such as Champion’s either an immediate or suspended prison sentence would be imposed.
“The message has to be sent loud and clear that making indecent images of children and possession of that sort of material won’t be [allowed] because those children who are photographed suffer the most horrendous abuse and if it was not for people who view this stuff the children would not be subjected to that sort of abuse,” he said.
But after reading a psychiatric report Judge Neligan said Champion’s case was different.
“I take the view that you are an isolated lonely sort of person who hasn’t had anything else to do but to watch this material and play games on your computer and it would not be right to send you to prison,” he said.
Champion was handed a two-year community order and ordered to take part in an internet sex offenders programme and be under the supervision of the probation service.
Judge Neligan ordered the forfeiture and destruction of Champion’s laptop and desktop PC equipment but ordered that his Xbox be returned to him.
He was also made subject to a sex offences prevention order.
After the hearing DC Eileen Hattem, the material downloaded by Champion included pictures of children as young as one and clips of children ages one to four.
She said: “The [important] thing for us is the fact that he has been convicted. It will mean that he gets the appropriate treatment and also he will be assessed for any future risk to the public with the sexual offences prevention order.”