Father jailed for child abuse images after son sent them to internet friend

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A father from South Molton who created child abuse images on his computer has been jailed after his son found them and posted them to an internet friend.

A father from South Molton who created child abuse images on his computer has been jailed after his son found them and posted them to an internet friend.

Stephen Rawlinson used photo manipulation software to turn innocent images of children into indecent ones and was found with 139 on his Dell computer.

His son William also had an interest in child abuse images. He downloaded more than 2,000 from the internet and put some of his father's images on a USB memory stick.

He went on to send 22 images to a contact he had made through the Kik messenger app, shortly before police raided the home in South Street, where both men lived at the time.

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The 56-year-old father has a previous conviction for downloading child images and was jailed for eight months at Exeter Crown Court on Wednesday (September 18). His 27-year-old son was sent on a sex offenders' programme as part of a three-year community order.

Police found the pseudo-photographs which Stephen Rawlinson had created when they raided the house in September 2017. He admitted what he had done but said he knew nothing about images being shared on Kik.

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Both men admitted three counts of making indecent images of children. William Rawlinson also admitted distributing images.

Both were put on the sex offenders register and made subject of Sexual Harm Prevention Orders which restrict their future use of the internet by Judge Peter Johnson.

He told the father: "You have a significant conviction from 2010 when you considered yourself fortunate not to get an immediate sentence. Within a relatively short time, you offended again."

He told the son: "You are in a different category. You are of good character. You do not seek to blame your father but I bear in mind the effect which his previous conviction must have had some influence on you.

"You had a very unhappy start in life, in part because of your father's predilections."

Kelly Scrivener, prosecuting, said police went to the home which the two men shared on September 2, 2017 and initially spoke to the father, who admitted manipulating images of children to make them sexual.

He was asked about the use of the social media platform Kik but knew nothing about it and police then interviewed his son, who was found with child images in a dropbox on his phone admitted sending some on Kik.

He also admitted downloading images from the internet and storing some of his father's images on a USB stick.

In total, the father created 11 category A, 16 category B, and 112 category C images between 2009 and 2017.

His son made one category A, 233 category B, and 2,005 category C images or movies between June and September 2017, and distributed 22 category C images.

Emily Pitts, defending Stephen, said the sex offenders treatment programme which he attended after his previous conviction, has since been discredited.

It had failed to address the root cause of his offending but a new course is likely to be more successful. He is in poor health and hopes to move closer to hospital to make it easier to get to appointments.

Richard Crabb, for William, said he is remorseful and keen to sort out his behaviour. He has moved away from the house and is now living with his mother and working as a street cleaner.

He said:"He does not seek to blame anyone else for his offending but it is an inescapable fact that pornography became part of his way of life during his formative years, first adult pornography, then prohibited images."

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