COURT: Jail for Harrogate paedophile who distributed abuse images

Custody image: North Yorkshire Police (s).
Custody image: North Yorkshire Police (s).

A Harrogate man has been jailed for more than four years after making and distributing shots of children being sexually abused.

John Smith, 36, distributed images of youngsters being subjected to the most depraved sexual abuse - despite having been jailed for similar offences three years ago.

Smith, from Harrogate, was arrested when police raided his home in Wellfield Court and seized two smartphones. Forensic analysis revealed a sordid array of images.

York Crown Court heard that Smith was in league with another paedophile with whom he had exchanged lurid shots of children.

Following the police raid in July 2014, Smith was charged with 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children and 10 counts of distributing the odious material over a seven-month period.

Many of the images featured scenes rated Category A - the worst kind of sexual abuse.

Smith eventually admitted all the offences and appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Monday, when he appeared in the dock dressed in a smart suit and tie.

Prosecutor Glen Parsons said Smith’s nefarious online activities - while still on prison licence for previous offences - were exposed when police raided the home of his partner-in-crime, a 52-year-old paedophile from Huddersfield.

Police seized an iPad and laptop from the West Yorkshire man’s address and found incriminating evidence that he had shared images with Smith.

The Huddersfield man told police he had used a special app to talk to others “of a like mind” over the internet - one of them being Smith, with whom he had shared child-porn images, mainly involving boys aged between six and 14.

The Huddersfield man said he had been in contact with a John Smith from Harrogate and that he had his phone number, but under the name John Penistone.

Smith had used an alias as “cover”, having changed his name following his previous child-porn conviction in November 2012, when he was given a two-year jail sentence after admitting 32 counts of making and distributing indecent images of youngsters and possessing extreme pornography.

On that occasion, he was convicted under the name Alan Risdale Rutherford, then changed his name again.

Mr Parsons said Smith and the Huddersfield man had met in a West Yorkshire café where they had given each other their user names for a child-porn website.

Defence barrister Taryn Turner conceded that Smith’s crimes were “appalling, horrific and revolting”, but said he had not received any rehabilitative treatment since his previous offences.

Judge Paul Batty QC said rehabilitation under a community order was “wholly unrealistic” due to the depths of Smith’s depravity. He jailed Smith for four-and-a-half years and ordered him to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for life.

Mr Batty also made a sexual-harm prevention order restricting Smith’s internet activities upon his release and preventing him deleting his browsing history.