Paedophile spared jail despite possessing 24,000 child porn images

Jason Bowden left York Crown Court with his head buried in a hood

Jason Bowden left York Crown Court with his head buried in a hood

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A paedophile has been spared prison despite amassing a huge child-porn collection while playing the doting family man.

Jason Bowden, 49, downloaded more than 24,000 vile photos and videos over a period of at least two years at his former home in Green Hammerton.

To the outside world, he seemed the perfect family man, but Bowden hid a “dark secret” which manifested itself in the downloading and storage of extreme sexual images of children as young as six, York Crown Court heard.

On September 7 last year, police raided his home and seized computer equipment for analysis.

Forensic experts found 24,000 indecent photos and movie clips featuring extremely-young children and teenagers. Many of the images were video files rated Category A - representing the worst kind of sexual abuse.

Crown prosecutor Rob Galley said it appeared that Bowden had been using file-sharing software to download images posted by other paedophiles.

He admitted the offences and appeared for sentence before Judge Paul Batty QC on Friday.

Defence barrister Sarah Barlow said Bowden, a father-of-one, was essentially a “very nice family man” but his wife had left him after the offences came to light and he had since moved to Gisburn on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border.

“This has had a devastating effect upon his family and he has lost much,” said Ms Barlow. “He had a very good job and spent so long as a happily-married man.”

She added that Bowden had since sought counselling for his child-porn addiction and was getting help from a charitable foundation which tries to rehabilitate such offenders.

She said Bowden, of Burnley Road, had no previous convictions and was “highly thought of” in his community.

Judge Mr Batty told Bowden: “You were someone who, to the outside world, led a blameless and law-abiding life, but you had a dark secret, which was that you had in your possession over 24,000 images, many of them movies, of the worst type of child imagery.”

Mr Batty said the huge number of images rated Category A would ordinarily result in a straight prison term, but because Bowden had immediately admitted his guilt, shown genuine remorse and taken steps to rid himself of his addiction, he could make an exception in his case.

Bowden was given a two-year jail sentence, but this was suspended for 24 months. During that time he will have to take part in a sex-offenders’ programme and come under the supervision of the Probation Service.

Mr Batty also made a sexual-harm prevention order restricting Bowden’s internet activities, which will be monitored by police and prevent him deleting his search history. He was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years.