A PERVERTED Stratford man with ‘an utterly appalling record’ for downloading images of child abuse bought a tablet computer after being released from prison – so he could download more.
But his police offender managers spotted the tablet when they went to check on him, and Tobias Richards immediately accepted: “I’m busted.”
The 51 year-old, of Yarranton Close, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of making indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornographic images and possessing prohibited images of children.
He was jailed for two years and four months and ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years – although that was only a formality, because he already has to register for life.
Prosecutor Peter Cooper said at the court in 2013 Richards had been jailed for three years for distributing indecent images of children.
In 2015, for breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed in 2013, he was jailed for 18 months, and in April last year he was jailed for 12 months for making indecent photographs of children.
He was released from that sentence in October, and on February 12 officers from Warwickshire Police’s sex offender management unit went to his home to check on him.
Richards answered the door after a short delay and allowed them in, and there was a discussion about a proposed move he wanted to make to Rugby.
The officers asked to look round the flat, at which he said he had to clear away a few things first, and when he scooped up a quilt they saw a tablet with an internet dongle attached.
Richards was asked what it was, and immediately replied: “I’m busted.”
He was arrested and admitted they would find indecent images of children on the tablet, telling them: “I can’t help it. I need locking away. I need help.”
He said he was attracted to children in their early teens and younger, and the tablet would contain images of children, both girls and boys, from the age of four.
Richards told them that looking at such images was ‘like a drug’ to him, adding that courses he had been on in prison had not worked, and he felt there was nothing that would stop him offending.
On the tablet officers found nearly 400 images.
Nick Devine, defending, conceded: “Mr Richards’s only real mitigation is the fact that he entered a guilty plea at the very first opportunity and his extreme frankness and honesty from the word go.
“He was sorry and recognised he had a problem, and wanted to do something about it, but couldn’t.”
Jailing Richards, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “You have an utterly appalling record for this type of offence, with six convictions for 34 offences.
“You made full admissions in interview and said you could not help yourself and needed help.
“Help has been offered to you across the course of the years, and here there were some very disturbing images.”