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Child porn fan escapes jail over army record

An Iraq War veteran who had hundreds of child porn images was on Thursday spared immediate jail because of his exemplary army record.

James Forrester was arrested in September last year after police officers acting on a tip-off raided his caravan home in Market Deeping.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court, said 1,123 child porn images were found on a laptop computer, a memory stick and on two DVDs.

Mr Scott said: “Predominantly the images were of young girls aged between nine and 14. The age range spanned from the youngest aged two to as old as 16.

“The vast majority were on the memory stick. These had been placed into specific user-created folders.”

Forrester initially told police he had received unsolicited emails which he deleted when he discovered what they contained.

But later he admitted accepting offers to send images from people he contacted through chatrooms.

Forrester (53), of Deeping Caravan Park, Towngate East, Market Deeping, admitted six specimen charges of making indecent images of children and a further charge of possession of indecent images. He also admitted possession of 41 extreme pornography images.

Stuart Lody, defending, said Forrester had an exemplary army career and subsequently spent 17 years as a full-time Territorial Army soldier before switching to a civilian role within the service.

He said: “He served in Iraq. What he saw there had a very profound effect on him.

“He didn’t seek any counselling for the problems he was encountering but instead resorted to alcohol. At the time of these offences he was consuming five litres of vodka a week.

“When he was not working for the Territorial Army he was living a lonely alcoholic existence.”

Mr Lody said that Forrester went onto chat sites to relieve his boredom and was introduced via links to other sites which led to the offences.

Forrester was given an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years with two years’ supervision. He was ordered to complete an Internet sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme and placed on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

Judge Sean Morris told Forrester: “These are not victimless crimes. Somewhere there is a child being abused and physically hurt and mentally scarred.

“You have made a huge error in your life. The reason I am suspending the sentence is that you served your country for many years in the armed forces. You have seen active service and it is quite clear that your experiences in Iraq changed your life and maybe your character.

“People who serve in the armed forces put their lives on the line therefore when they are in difficulties, in my view, that should always be taken into account.”

 

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