A pensioner who had almost two million indecent images of children stored on his computers has walked free from court after receiving a two-year suspended prison sentence.
David Jackson, 73, of Woodmancote, Dursley, was told by a judge he deserved a severe prison sentence.
But Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: “Because of Jackson’s underlying health issues I have concluded that sending him to prison is akin to giving him a death sentence, so I have no choice but to impose a suspended sentence.”
He added: “In normal circumstances I would not hesitate in sending you to prison. But I have seen your medical report which shows you have a number of underlying health issues and restricted mobility.
“You are therefore highly vulnerable and deserve a severe prison sentence but sending you to jail is not an option in case you contract the Covid-19 virus.”
At Gloucester Crown Court Jackson, of Woodmancote, Dursley, pleaded guilty to making indecent of photographs of children between November 3, 2009 and May 9, 2018 in all three categories of severity – A, B and C – on six computers found at his home address.
Jackson’s computers contained 587 Category A images; 1,794 Category B images and 1,856,704 Category C images, the court was told.
At an earlier hearing the court heard Jackson had some nine million images on his computers but only 1,859,085 were analysed for prosecution purposes.
The judge warned Jackson: “You need to reflect on the fact that your activities and your perverse interest in children are perpetuating the suffering of hundreds of young children around the world.
“Whatever it was that drove you to look at those images you will not be doing it again. I don’t trust you to confront the dark corner of your soul.
“If you squander this opportunity I shall park you in prison.”
Prosecutor Charley Pattison told the court that Jackson originally claimed the images got onto his devices without him realising while he was downloading legitimate material.
Ms Pattison said: “A lot of money has been spent on bringing this case to court as Jackson had denied all of the 17 charges in which we planning for a trial.”
Judge Lawrie interjected: “Jackson has a blatant disregard over his responsibility in all this. He can’t evade the situation any longer.
“He has been ducking and diving for long enough.
“Jackson took on calculated efforts to disguise his actions by giving the girls names and categorising them in that way.”
The prosecutor explained that the images had been categorised to form of a library system which had been downloaded over the nine year period.
She said that the children depicted were aged between two and 15 with vaginal penetration of the very youngest being depicted.
Ms Pattison said: “A vast number of images depicted children in various stages of undress with a lot of very young girls wearing stockings and suspenders.
“This is a decade worth of offending which would have meant a large number of victims because of the high volume of images.”
Matthew Harbinson, defending said: “It is two years and four months to the day since Jackson was first interviewed by the police over this.
“During this time his health had deteriorated quite considerably.
“Jackson first got into pornography when his physical relationship with his wife ended in 2009.
“He first viewed legal pornography before he found a gateway to the illegal material. I am unable to offer an explanation over the sheer volume of indecent images.
“It must have been mass downloads. It would take over a year to view each individual image at five seconds each.
“Jackson has now entered a guilty plea for each of the 17 charges.”
Judge Lawrie said: “Jackson is an old man who cannot confront his offending of having a sexual interest in children.
“He had no choice but to plead guilty. He’d been boxed into a corner.”
Judge Lawrie turned to Jackson and said: “For nearly a decade you consistently delved into child pornography from the severe category A to the less severe categories of B and C. You have a fixation for child pornography.
“You are an educated man with a professional background and you would have been fully aware of what you were doing within this sexual context.
“But you still downloaded these images. I do not accept your claim you had no sexual interest in these images. You clearly did.
“It was persistent downloading. But the fact that you failed to confront that aspect of your character is of concern to this court.
“For nine months you tried every trick in the book in evading the truth in what you have done by pleading not guilty. You’ve boxed yourself into a corner and now you’ve admitted your guilt.
“However I got the impression today that you pleaded guilty through gritted teeth.
“When one looks what has been downloaded it shows young girls as young as two-years-old to age 15 engaging in a wide range of sexual activities including penetrative vaginal sex by adult men.
“Many of the children were tied up by rope and many were wearing inappropriate clothing for their age.
“That’s the type of imagery you were staring at and without a shadow of any doubt you had a sexual interest in this material.”
The judge sentenced Jackson to a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years; ordered him to pay court cost of £1,800 and to carry out 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days along with a monthly judicial review.
The judge ordered Jackson to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and made him subject to the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for the same time period.
The judge also ordered for the confiscation and destruction of Jackson’s six computers.