Porn download man escapes jail

A man who downloaded 1,168 indecent images of children over several years has escaped jail.

A man who downloaded 1,168 indecent images of children over several years was spared jail yesterday.

Tony Coe, 44, formerly of St Peter's Road in West Lynn, now living in Cambridge, admitted 12 counts of possessing and downloading the illegal pictures before magistrates at Swaffham.

Coe's former home in Lynn was raided by police on March 16 this year after he was traced through his credit card subscription to a web-site under Operation Ore.

Police found the 1,168 level- one images, the least serious category of illegal image, hidden on one computer, together with a handful of deleted level-two, three and four images, and evidence of Coe's searching for and subscriptions to child porn sites, on another.

Presiding magistrate Gerry Burns gave Coe a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered him to be placed under a two-year supervision order, during which he must attend a sex offenders' programme, and put him on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

He said: "There are children being exploited for the gratification of people like yourself and it is quite clear your family is also suffering considerably because of your actions.

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"This does not mean that you have got away with anything: commit another offence and you will be going to prison."

Dorothy Pulsford-Harris, prosecuting, said Coe had admitted to police that he had tried to disguise the files so they could not be found.

She said: "He admitted he had hidden them elaborately so a third party could not find them and that he subscribed to such sites and had done so for many years. He said he did not know why he had done it and said he did not think he was a paedophile."

Charlotte Winchester, mitigating, said: "He realises now that vulnerable children were involved and is extremely ashamed of his behaviour."

She said he had no previous convictions, that his preg-nant wife and family were standing by him and he had begun seeing a counsellor about what he had done.

Coe was also ordered to pay £60 court costs and the equip-ment with the images on was ordered to be destroyed.

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