Man found with 1.8m child abuse photos spared jail because he was 'a loner'

A UK man who was found in possession of 1.8 million child abuse photos and videos has managed to avoid jail because he was a "loner" who kept the images to himself, a judge ruled.

Judge Peter Armstong told the Teesside Crown Court in England that Simon Pattison, 32, would have gone to jail if he had shared the material, despite detectives describing the images as "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of obscene nature".

Pattison’s collection was so large that police only had enough resources to investigate a fraction of the files.


Among the sample taken, 292 images were found to be category A (the most serious), 216 were category B and 3029 were category C, according to the Metro.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told the court the material involved children between the ages of five and 14, and also included images of extreme pornography.

One video was more than three and a half hours long.

Pattison, a former office worker, said he didn’t realise his downloads created a demand in the child abuse industry and that real children were being abused in the process.

Defence lawyer Scott Taylor told the court Pattison resigned from his job to save his employer embarrassment.

Pattison said he didn't realise real children were being abused in the material. Photo: Getty/stock
Pattison said he didn't realise real children were being abused in the material. Photo: Getty/stock

"He spent many of his early years sitting at his computer without any social interaction," Mr Taylor said.

"He is a bit of a loner, and his first girlfriend was when he was 27, who was with him when the police attended the premises. That relationship has obviously fallen by the wayside. His parents and his girlfriend had no idea he was accessing this material."

Judge Armstrong said it was likely Pattison could be rehabilitated.

"This sort of distorted thinking, that it’s alright to access this kind of material, can be addressed in rehabilitation activities,” he said.

“It would appear you were shy and introverted and spent a lot of time on your own accessing this material."

Pattison admitted to charges of making and possessing indecent images of children, prohibited images of children and extreme pornography.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also given a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order to restrict his internet use and will be listed on the sex offenders register for the next decade.

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