South Yorkshire man sentenced to community order for downloading hundreds of child abuse images

Paul Hague admitted to downloading hundreds of indecent images of children
Paul Hague admitted to downloading hundreds of indecent images of children

A South Yorkshire man has walked out of court with a community order, after he admitted to downloading more than 200 indecent images of children.

Paul Hague's offending came to light on March 18 last year, when officers from South Yorkshire Police raided his home address, before arresting him and seizing a number of his electronic devices.

"They recovered a computer and a mobile phone, on which they found a total of 12 category A images, including one movie," prosecutor, David Wain, told Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday.

Category A is the most serious of the legal categories for indecent images, and is is defined as material which shows children being raped.

Mr Wain added: "He had 280 Category C images that were from an inaccessible area, having been deleted.

"His computer was examined and there was evidence of peer-to-peer software."

Hague, aged 50, initially made no comment in police interview but eventually acknowledged his offending when he pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children at an earlier hearing.

In mitigation, Andrew Swaby told the court that Hague, of Duke Street, Barnsley would adhere to any conditions set by the courts and the probation service should he be sentenced to a community order.

Judge Roger Thomas QC sentenced Hague to an 18-month community order, the requirements of which include a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He also put Hague on the sex offenders' register for a period of five years and made him the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

"You say you don't have a sexual interest in children, but that can't be right. This stuff didn't get on to your devices without you putting it there. The search-terms you were using indicate you have an unhappy and unhealthy interest in children, and you need to accept that and to address it," Judge Thomas told Hague, adding: "You are contributing to what's happening to those children. Those things are happening to real children, and they're happening because there's a market out there with people like you willing to watch it.

"You and people like you are the people who bring about the sexual abuse of children."