September 6th, 2016

Child porn ex-Southam man escapes jail sentence

Child porn ex-Southam man escapes jail sentence Child porn ex-Southam man escapes jail sentence
Updated: 7:58 am, Apr 17, 2016

 WHEN a former Southam man’s ex-wife was clearing out the loft she was horrified to discover a stash of child pornography he had left behind when he moved out.

And the police then discovered that as well as the many thousands of images on video tapes, memory sticks and his laptop, Michael Clarke had also secretly recorded two naked children.

But despite the huge number of images, he escaped being jailed after pleading guilty to seven charges of making indecent images of children, one of voyeurism and two of possessing extreme pornography.

Instead the 44 year-old of Deppers Bridge, near Southam, was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years by a judge at Warwick Crown Court.

He was also ordered to take part in a ‘rehabilitation activity’ to address his behaviour and to register as a sex offender for five years.

Prosecutor Lisa Hancox said that Clarke and his wife, who he had married in 2005, were divorced in 2012.

In July last year she was clearing out the loft at the one-time matrimonial home when she came across two boxes in which she found a collection of old camcorder tapes, porn magazines – and a covert camera concealed in a clock.

She also found a small safe which, when it was opened by the police, was found to contain 18 video tapes and nine memory sticks.

The tapes were transferred to viewable formats and were found to show many images of unknown women – but also a 20-second clip recorded from a computer screen of a boy aged around eight performing a sex act on a man, and another of a young girl being sexually abused.

Clarke was arrested and police seized his laptop and memory sticks. They found a range of pornographic material including extreme pornography showing acts of bestiality and a girl aged around four being raped.

And on one of them a was recording Clarke had made himself of a young boy and a girl, aged between seven and 11, in swimming costumes and then getting undressed.

In total there were over 2,000 pictures and 124 movies

When questioned Clarke claimed he had accidentally downloaded images of children while looking at legal porn sites, and the recording he had made had been ‘innocent.’

But after speaking to his solicitor he admitted viewing child pornography for his sexual satisfaction, added Miss Hancox.

William Douglas-Jones, defending, said Clarke had had ‘an incomplete sex life’ and mental health issues, and during a downward spiral in his life he had used pornography as an escape and moved on to the material in the charges, for which ‘he has expressed disgust with himself.’

Recorder Adrian Reynolds told Clarke, who no longer lives in Warwickshire: “Disgusting as your offending is, I am not intending to send you to prison.

“The author of the probation report has written you stated that at the time you did not think about the victims of these offences, but you now realise they will be affected for the rest of their lives.

“There is no ‘might’ about it, what you have been involved in does dehumanise children. To view a child as a sexual object is so perverted as to defy description.

“There is one reason, and one reason alone, why I’m not going to send you to prison – and that is because these offences happened a long time ago, and I’m persuaded you do not now have the disgusting interest in this type of material you had at the time.

“I have to take account of the fact that most of the serious material was left by you at your ex-wife’s house when you left, suggesting you did not have an ongoing interest in it.”

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