Cornwall

Lib Dem MP's former aide avoids jail over child porn

Computer keyboard and mouse - generic
Image caption A total of 548 indecent images of children were found on Bale's computer

A former councillor and political aide who admitted downloading child pornography has avoided jail.

Nathan Bale, of Penfound Gardens, Bude, worked for Lib Dem MP Dan Rogerson, but resigned shortly after being arrested.

Bodmin Magistrates' Court was told the 31-year-old accessed the material out of "morbid curiosity" and had gained no "sexual gratification".

He was given a two-year supervision order and put on the sex offenders register for five years.

Magistrates heard Bale downloaded more than 500 images over an eight-year period.

'Dramatic blow'

After his arrest in June, police found evidence that Bale had tried to cover his tracks, searching online for advice on "how do I clean my C Drive?".

Defence lawyer Chris Mitchell told the court Bale became fixated with child pornography after initially accessing it out of morbid curiosity.

His client, whose wife is expecting a baby in January, had gained "no sexual gratification" from viewing the images and had already started seeking help for his behaviour, Mr Mitchell said.

'Morbid curiosity'

Of the 548 images found on Bale's computer, 535 were classed as "level one" - the lowest level of seriousness in terms of indecent images.

Mr Mitchell said Bale's career and home life had been dealt a "dramatic blow" by his own actions.

"This is a situation where we have someone who began viewing these images out of morbid curiosity," he told the Court.

"He became fixated with it and continued to view the images over a period of time."

Last month Bale pleaded guilty to 10 charges of making indecent images of children between 2003 and 2011.

As part of his sentence, he will have to allow Devon and Cornwall Police to monitor his internet use.

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