Harrogate district pensioner avoids jail after downloading 1,000 images of child porn

Andrew Michael Wild, 69, from Pateley Bridge, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday.
Andrew Michael Wild, 69, from Pateley Bridge, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday.

A pensioner renowned for his charitable works has been spared prison after he admitted downloading over 1,000 indecent images of children.

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Andrew Michael Wild, 69, from Pateley Bridge, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday wearing an immaculate dark suit, white shirt and tie.

Wild, who had led a hitherto-blameless life, used a ‘drop-box’ app to download the child-porn shots, said prosecutor Philip Adams.

Among the vast number of indecent images were 360 Category A shots – the worst kind, involving the serious sexual abuse of children. He also downloaded 273 Category B images and 420 Category C, as well as three computer-generated child-porn images.

Some of the indecent images featured children as young as two.

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Wild admitted three counts of downloading indecent images and one count of possessing the three prohibited images at a previous hearing. His nefarious online activities took place between July and November last year.

At Friday’s sentence hearing, the court heard that Wild, of Ripon Road, had used a link to access the debauched material.

Wild’s solicitor Anna Moran said her client had no previous convictions and had made a “positive contribution to society thus far”.

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He had been involved in various charitable works but “recognises that he has lost his good character in a spectacular way, and that these proceedings are a fall from grace for him”.

“He has struggled with the shame and embarrassment he has brought upon himself and his family, particularly his wife of 44 years,” added Ms Moran.

She said White had since received counselling and was getting help from a charity which rehabilitates such offenders.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Wild: “You were accessing, on the internet, images of serious abuse of children. Every image that you view shows a child’s life and childhood being taken away from them. Some of them were as young as two.”

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Wild was given a 12-month prison sentence, but this was suspended for two years because of the efforts he had made to rehabilitate himself, glowing references from “many people” and his plea of guilty. He was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order of a similar length, to curb his online activities.

In addition, he was made to pay £400 costs and told he must complete a 40-day rehabilitation course.