Ian Chilton, a Cheltenham man, convicted of possessing indecent images of children

A Cheltenham man has been sentenced to a 24-month community order for possessing 39 indecent images of children. He was arrested after an indecent image of a child was released via Skype in June 2020.

At Gloucester Crown Court on Friday March 18, Judge Ian Lawrie QC said he did not understand why the case was not being heard by the magistrates’ court. This was said because the number of indecent images involved was “minimal” compared to the numbers that are often involved in such cases.

The court was told that Cheltenham magistrates felt their sentencing powers were insufficient. They decided to refer the case to a Crown Court judge for sentencing.

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Prosecutor Nicola Wood said the National Crime Agency informed Gloucestershire Police that an indecent image of a child was released via Skype in June 2020.

Police obtained a search warrant on September 15, 2020 and attended Bishops Drive, Bishops Cleeve, where Ian Chilton, 53, admitted to owning a number of computer devices.

“Chilton was later questioned by police where he admitted that the email address associated with Skype was his. He said he had not used the app for some time. He said that ‘He acknowledged receiving the footage but immediately deleted it,’ the prosecutor said.

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Jack Berry, defending, said: ‘I agree that this matter should have been dealt with in the magistrates’ court. Chilton was in a long-term relationship, but when it fell apart and he suffered from a lack of intimacy, he became sexually curious about child pornography and visited a number of chat rooms.

“He was indeed naïve about sexual fantasies and was lured into this world by others. It’s no surprise that Chilton’s relationship is now over. He used to work as a machine operator but lost his job due to of this legal proceeding. He is very remorseful for his actions.”

Chilton pleaded guilty to broadcasting an indecent image of a child, classified as Category C on September 15, 2020; making 10 category A indecent photographs of a child between January 1, 2013 and April 21, 2021, eight category B indecent images and 21 category C images between the same dates.

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Judge Lawrie told Chilton: ‘Despite my previous comments, these charges are still serious as they present images of abuse of children under the age of 10. I accept that you have a number of health issues and I have no doubt that the public humiliation that you are in this court will be a lesson for you. Don’t take it personally, but I never want to see you again.

Chilton was sentenced to a 24-month community order which includes a 40-day rehabilitative activity requirement and was ordered to pay £100 court costs and a £60 victim fine surcharge. Chilton was ordered to sign the sex offender register for five years.

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