Man jailed for child porn compared images to Constable paintings

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A MAN arrested on child pornography charges told police he considered it was like looking at pictures of Constable landscapes.

When officers seized computer equipment at the home of Robert Ian Shears in October 2009, he even had an indecent image of a child as his screen saver, Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday.

He said he found pictures of naked children beautiful and thought they looked happy in the images so did not think they were actually being abused.

Simon Haring prosecuting told the court more than 8,000 images were found including 1200 at levels four and five, the most serious.

Shears, 58, of Field Top, Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, who is in a wheelchair because of a hereditary disease, was jailed for six months after he admitted 21 charges of making indecent images.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told him: “By downloading these images you contribute to the misery and the degradation of these young children. Those images at level four and five are vile. It is difficult to imagine the ordeal to which these children are subjected in order to obtain images such as these.

He did not accept that Shears had gained no sexual pleasure from viewing the images as indicated in his pre-sentence report. “There would be absolutely no other reason for downloading and looking at them and to liken them to looking at a Constable landscape is unbelievable. These are children being abused.”

He said it was clear that Shears had a difficult and isolated existence because of his situation but he had been looking at the images for a couple of years and a jail term had to be passed.

He barred him from having photographs or images of children under 16 except without parent or guardian’s permission.

Ken Green for Shears said he had been a hard working, law-abiding individual who had never been in trouble before but had become somewhat isolated through his disability.

He did not have a family or many friends which added to his isolation. “It is sad he is in that position at his time of life.”

There was no suggestion of distribution to others and he had faced considerable delay in awaiting his case coming to court because of the police workload in analysing computers. “That has been a strain on him.”