Man collected 17,000 indecent child images

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A MAN who admitted possessing more than 17,000 indecent images of children has avoided being sent to prison.

Jeremy Ridler, 50, of Townhouse Road, Walsham-le-Willows, was caught in November when police with a warrant searched his home and discovered a total of 17,585 images, some involving children as young as two.

Last Thursday, Ipswich Crown Court heard that examination of computer equipment seized from Ridler’s house showed that he had been collecting images from the internet for up to six years.

Prosecuting, Patricia Doggett said Ridler had told police that he had transferred images to CDs to allow him to view them on his television.

Ninety-five of the images found had been graded at the highest level for child pornography, she said.

Ridler told the court that he had never paid for images or passed them on to anyone else.

At an earlier hearing, he pleaded guilty to 16 offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possessing indecent images of children.

In mitigation, Kevin McCarthy said Ridler, who is reliant on benefits, came from a good background and a loving family but had been on a ‘downward spiral’. He added that Ridler had found himself unable to cope with changing circumstances and was suffering from a depressive illness while misusing cannabis and alcohol.

He said: “Those years in the wilderness are a matter of great haziness and uncertainty for him.”

Judge John Devaux sentenced Ridler to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and said he hoped the conditions attached to the sentence would help him to address his problems.

Ridler will remain under probation service supervision for two years, be disqualified indefinitely from working with children and have to sign on the Sexual Offences Register for 10 years. He will also be required to take part in an accredited programme to tackle sexual offending and be banned from having unsupervised access to any child under 16 without probation service approval for the next two years. Ridler must also pay £600 towards prosecution costs.