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Reading Magistrates' Court: former Kennet School pupil from Newbury avoids jail for extreme child porn




POLICE who seized a former Thatcham school pupil’s mobile phone were shocked to find images of child sex abuse.

Some of the images were Category A – the most extreme – but other files were encrypted and officers will never know exactly what they contain.

The moving images that were retrieved depicted children aged between 10 and 12 years being abused.

court (50768250)
court (50768250)

Nevertheless James Morris, a former pupil at Kennet School, avoided being sent to prison when he appeared for sentencing at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday, August 27.

The 24-year-old, who used to live in Bucklebury and now lives at Russell Road, Newbury, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to possessing or making indecent images of children in Category A.

In addition, the court heard, Mr Morris had admitted making or possessing a similar image in Category C and a third charge of being in possession of indecent images of children.

All the above offences were committed in Bucklebury on or before March 13 last year.

Holly Newing, prosecuting, said police who raided Mr Morris’ home were “acting on intelligence received”.

She said the phone files had been encrypted and that, while dozens of images had been retrieved, “there were a number of other ones that were inaccessible”.

The court heard Mr Morris had previously received a conditional caution which aggravated the latest offending.

Details of this were shown to magistrates by the court clerk, but were not made public.

At the previous hearing, magistrates ordered pre-sentence reports to be prepared on an ‘all options’ basis, including a potential prison sentence.

Rob Jacques, defending, said his client had suffered public humiliation after his earlier admissions were reported by the Newbury Weekly News and that his partner had consequently left him, unable to cope with the ensuing backlash on social media.

In addition, said Mr Jacques, Mr Morris was struggling with cocaine addiction and had himself been sexually groomed, when he was a teenager, by an older man.

He explained: “He was exposed to material no 15-year-old should be exposed to.”

It was “crystal clear”, he suggested, that Mr Morris needed specialist intervention to help him to understand the nature and seriousness of his offending.

Mr Jacques acknowledged that cases such as his client’s were usually sent to the crown court because magistrates considered their maximum punishment powers of six months imprisonment were insufficient.

But he pleaded with magistrates to retain jurisdiction in this case and said: “He doesn’t know how he would cope with a custodial sentence and is very scared.”

Magistrates acknowledged the extreme seriousness of the offences, but told Mr Morris they did not believe jailing him would help him.

Instead, they said, they were placing trust in him, adding that “the whole court system” was there to assist him to move forward with his life and avoid reoffending.

Mr Morris was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

He must also undertake 80 hours unpaid community work.

In addition, he was ordered to pay £85 costs, plus a victim services surcharge of £122.

Finally, Mr Morris was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and was made subject to a seven-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.



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