Newton Poppleford paedophile who fantasised about girl and possessed indecent images of babies avoids jail

PUBLISHED: 11:44 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:20 25 September 2018

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Alex Walton

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Alex Walton

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An IT professional who wrote a sexual fantasy about a seven-year-old girl and exchanged ‘shocking’ indecent images of babies has avoided jail.

Richard Mason, of Lark Rise, Newton Poppleford, was given a suspended sentence after he admitted six counts of making or possessing indecent images of children and two of distribution.

Police raided the 52-year-old’s home on September 12, last year.

Officers found videos and still images of children as young as one or two suffering appalling sexual assaults on his home computer after he was traced through his IP address.

Officers found a chat log in which he wrote a sexual fantasy about a seven-year-old girl and a Skype chat in which he sent two short video clips to another paedophile.

Mason was sentenced to 16 months in jail, which was suspended for two years and was ordered to do 120 hours unpaid community work and 45 hours of rehabilitation activities by Judge Timothy Rose, at Exeter Crown Court.

He was put on the sex offenders register and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order, which will allow the police to monitor his internet use.

The judge told him: “The aggravating feature of this case is that the images are at just about the highest imaginable level of seriousness.

“They are shocking images.”

The judge decided to suspend the sentence after hearing how Mason has paid for psychological counselling since his arrest and that the probation service rated him as a having a good prospect for rehabilitation.

Mason admitted to downloading 89 stills and three videos in the worst category - A, and 238 stills and two videos in the lower categories B and C. There were 84 category A images which had been deleted with 310 at the lower levels. He had also sent two short category A video clips by Skype on September 2, 2015.

Mason told police he would never touch or harm a child and that his interest in the images arose out of fantasy and roleplay.

Miss Jennifer Dempster, defending, said the distribution offences had been limited to two images and he’d not been part of a paedophile network and his online contact with other men had been isolated.

She said Mason had done his best to address his own behaviour by having more than 20 sessions with a counsellor.

She also said he and his family would risk losing their home if he was sent to jail and lost his job as an IT professional.

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