Derbyshire pervert Gareth Studden 'was attracted' to girls aged eight-to-ten

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A pervert from Derbyshire who downloaded sick child abuse images over a five-year period admitted to police he was “attracted to girls aged eight-to-ten”.

Derby Crown Court was told how Gareth Studden had become “addicted” to viewing indecent images of children.

After police carried out a search warrant at his home and seized his Acer laptop, experts found almost 600 pictures or movies of children, some of which saw them engaged in sex with adults.

But since his arrest he has been working with a specialist charity that attempts to rehabilitate people who offend in this way and that has saved him from an immediate prison term.

Handing him a 12-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “Yours is quite a sad story of a lonely individual and at the age of 41 you have no previous convictions.

“This is not uncommon with offending of this nature and unfortunately you got involved over a number of years.

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“You have become addicted to downloading and viewing these images.

“These are real children, these films and photographs are not just some kind if fantasy you are indulging in.

“Real children are being abused in these images to satisfy your particular predilection.”

Mark Knowles, prosecuting, said police raided Studdens’ home, in The Fairway, Newhall, Swadlincote, on February 9, after information was received that his internet address was linked to downloading indecent images.

Gareth Studden was handed a suspended prison sentence for possessing indecent images of children

Gareth Studden was handed a suspended prison sentence for possessing indecent images of children

He said: “This defendant admitted he was the sole occupant at the address and immediately admitted he was responsible for whatever they might find on his laptop.

“His computer equipment was seized and on it were found 497 images of categories A to C and 94 moves that also spanned all three categories.

“He was interviewed and fully admitted he had downloaded them and thought the police would find around 500 pictures and movies.

“He said he was attracted to girls aged eight to ten and said he did need help to address this.”

Studden pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Will Bennett, mitigating, said his client had not offended since his arrest and had contacted the Lucy Faithful Foundation - a UK-wide charity which works to tackle child sexual abuse.

A stock picture of an anonymous child

A stock picture of an anonymous child

He said: “He has started to sort himself out even before his case came to court.”

As well as the suspended jail term, Judge Bennett ordered Studden to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and to attend 30 rehabilitation days with the probation service.

He also handed him a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

Speaking after sentencing, a spokesman for the NSPCC said: “The children in these images and videos are victims of sexual abuse and have suffered appallingly for this material to be made.

“The knowledge that their abuse can be viewed again and again and may never be removed contributes to their on-going trauma.

“To help put an end to this trade in online abuse imagery, internet companies and authorities must work together to stop this content from being published and ensure it is quickly taken down when it does appear online.

“Offenders like Studden should get the necessary treatment as part of their rehabilitation activity to prevent them from carrying out further child sex crimes.”

Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can speak to a dedicated counsellor at Childline free and confidentially on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk .

Moved by what you’ve read? Please help Childline be there for every young person who desperately needs support. Donate £4 by texting ‘NSPCC 4’ to 84010 or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk/derby . Text costs include your donation of £4 plus your standard network rate. The NSPCC will receive 100% of your donation.