A Doncaster man found to have downloaded child abuse images just days after being convicted of identical offences has walked away from court with a suspended sentence.
After admitting to downloading indecent images of children, Joshua Madden was sentenced to a three-year community order, and was made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) on November 11, 2017.
Sheffield Crown Court was told how Madden, of Lime Tree Walk, Denaby Main was found to have been downloading child abuse images up until November 18, 2017 – a week after he was sentenced.
This was brought to light three days later, on November 21, when police attended at his home address, after receiving intelligence about his most recent spate of offending.
As part of the conditions of Madden's SHPO, he was banned from owning any internet-enabled device on which it was possible to delete the browsing history.
Prosecutor, Michael Tooley, told the court during today’s sentencing hearing that the child abuse images were found on a mobile phone Madden had stashed in his sock, and police analysts were able to retrieve them, despite attempts made by him to permanently delete them.
Madden told officers he had deleted the internet history when officers searched his property at this time, but the 26-year-old did not mention he had downloaded indecent images of children, the court heard.
It took five months for his phone to be analysed, and during the intervening period, Madden was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, for breaching the SHPO by deleting his internet history.
“The images on the phone were downloaded in April 2018 and there were 10 images of Category A; 21 images of Category B and 44 images of Category C,” said Mr Tooley.
Category A images, the most serious of the three categories, are defined as those which show children being raped.
Madden was subsequently charged, and pleaded guilty to, one count of making indecent images.
Under the law, 'making' an indecent image can refer to the 'opening, accessing, downloading and storing of online content'.
Defending, Dale Harris, described Madden as someone who was ‘isolated’, ‘socially awkward’ and financially reliant on his parents.
“His social isolation seems to be so extreme he doesn’t even go outside to sign on benefits,” said Mr Harris, adding that Madden had been engaging well with the probation service and was more likely to receive the help he needed out of prison.
Judge Michael Slater sentenced Madden to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
He said he felt able to suspend Madden’s prison sentence due to the ‘relatively small’ number of Category A images downloaded by Madden, but added: “These children are real children, they don’t exist in a fantasy world like you seem to, they suffer, and their suffering is depicted in the pictures you look at for your enjoyment. I hope you bear this is something you will continue to bear in mind.”