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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Judge blasts Millom dad’s child abuse images addiction

A FORMER primary school janitor who was addicted to viewing pornographic images of children and babies has been given a three-year community order.

A judge blasted Christopher Kershaw saying as a granddad, dad and former children’s rugby coach he had hidden a “dark secret” from his family.

The Honorary Recorder of Carlisle Paul Batty slammed the 60-year-old saying that the images were not just imaginary but photographs of the very real sexual abuse of children.

Prosecutor Miss Raquel Simpson told Barrow Crown Court yesterday how Kershaw had admitted making 15 indecent photographs of a child.

She said 527 images found were level one, 46 level two, 138 level three, 72 level four and four level five, with level five being the worst.

The hearing was told that the defendant, formerly of Millom, was arrested on December 2 when a Cumbria Child Protection Team had information that child abuse images had been accessed from his address.

A laptop and mobile phone were seized.

Miss Simpson said: “He explained to police that he had been searching on Google for pre-teen nudes and looked at images of boys, girls and babies. They had been looked at and then deleted.”

Defence barrister Mr Roger Baldwin said his client was deeply ashamed of what he had done in private that had now become public.

He said: “This is a man who was browsing the internet but not retaining any of those images once they were viewed.”

Sentencing Judge Batty said: “To the outside world you were a responsible man with a large family. You had children and grandchildren and worked with children. That is a concern alongside what can only be described as your porn addiction.

“For three years you hid a dark secret from your family.”

The judge added that Kershaw’s crimes did merit a jail term but he did not see prison as a way of helping Kershaw overcome his addiction to child abuse images.

He added: “Your life has been devastated by what you did and you made a serious attempt to take your own life. But, the children being abused in these images have had their lives devastated.”

He sentenced him to a three-year community order with supervision where he could receive treatment.

Kershaw, who appeared on the Pride of Britain Awards last year when his son was honoured for saving his life after he suffered a heart attack, was also put on the sex offenders register for five years and put under a five-year sexual offences prevention order.

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