Fury at suspended sentence for South Yorkshire pervert who downloaded images of babies being raped

Outrage has been expressed at the suspended prison sentenced handed out to a South Yorkshire man who downloaded images showing babies being raped.

Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 10:07 am

Michael Stuart’s offending was discovered after he sent messages of a sexual nature to an undercover police officer purporting to be a 12-year-old boy.

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In the messages, the pervert, aged 38, asked the ‘boy’ to send him photographs for his sexual gratification.

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A man was handed a suspended prison sentence for downloading images showing babies being raped

He went on to offer to explain how to carry out a number of sex acts.

Stuart’s home was then raided and when police officers examined his electronic devices, indecent images of children were found on a phone.

The images showed the rape of one baby aged six months; the abuse of another aged between 12 and 15 months; the rape of a third baby aged 20 months, as well as the sexual abuse of a girl aged between five and six-years-old.

Stuart, of Mill Road, Ecclesfield, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court for sex offences including attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child under the age of 16, and making indecent images of children of Categories A and C.

Recorder Andrew Smith MBE told Stuart: “These are real children being abused, somewhere, in the most horrific way.”

But he said that while a prison sentence of eight months was necessary in Stuart’s case, he felt able to suspend it for two years.

Recorder Smith explained that he only has the power to pass a relatively short jail term, based on the sentencing guidelines judges are obliged to follow; and such a sentence would see Stuart released within months, after which time he would receive little or no support from the probation service.

“Members of the public do not understand why judges do not send people who commit these sort of offences to prison for a long time,” said Recorder Smith.

Star reader Katie Bond branded said: “How is this the correct sentence? Any abuse of a child or even an adult, is abhorrent but a six-month-old baby?!

“The punishments that can be dished out need to be reviewed. A mammoth task of course but they need updating.”

Nick Smeaton added: “Literally no deterrent for these rats, get more for taking your kids out of school in term time.”

Posting on Facebook, Susie Gillott added: “A suspended sentence!!!! how is that possible! The police must be so despondent at these sentences when they work hard to get them to trial. Totally disgusting.”

Linda Noble said: “The criminal justice system needs a complete overhaul!”

Jo-Ann Nicklin added: “People get more time for much less crimes. This is the worst of them all. I can't understand it. I'm so angry reading this.”

Carla Barton-Pretswell said: “I honestly can't cope with how the justice system in the country believes these monsters can go on a rehabilitation program and be a normal human and never give out a proper sentence to keep our children safe

“You get more for growing weed than being a predator of our children. Never right!”