Devon

Man jailed after one million child abuse images found

John Bidmead
Image caption John Bidmead is apparently so ashamed he wants to die in prison

A 65-year-old man who had more than a million child abuse images and filmed his own attacks on young girls has been jailed for 19 years.

When police raided John Bidmead's home they caught him red-handed as he watched a child abuse film.

The trail of sexual assaults came to light when Interpol tipped off police.

Bidmead, from Cullompton, Devon, admitted four rapes, six indecent or sexual assaults and 19 counts of taking or making indecent photographs.

Exeter Crown Court heard detectives found Bidmead watching a child abuse film which was being streamed via his computer on to a 50-inch television.

The court heard officers were horrified to find not only the largest library of indecent images they had ever seen, but a computer file containing 124 homemade movies showing him raping and abusing a child.

They seized a number of computers and discovered 1,500 more files containing images made by him of four more girls.

'Quite staggering'

The retired lorry driver paid some of the victims to pose for photographs and bribed others with sweets or treats.

There were so many images and movies that police were not able to count them all.

The court heard that they gave up at 600,000 but estimated there were well over a million in total.

Sentencing Bidmead, Judge Phillip Wassall said: "The magnitude of the number of images is quite staggering.

"You had more than a million images of children being abused, including significantly high numbers of images of the worst type of abuse.

"That was only a fraction because an analysis of your computer showed images of you raping and abusing a child."

Extreme material

The judge was told that Bidmead was so ashamed of what he did that he wanted to die in prison.

Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Bidmead's home was raided by police after they were tipped off by colleagues in Russia about him downloading extreme child pornography.

An examination of a computer folder named "visits" included 124 movies showed him abusing the same girl, who appeared to be aged eight or nine.

She was traced and revealed how she had been groomed by Bidmead.

In a victim impact statement, she said: "I now find it difficult to trust people and I feel upset, angry and confused."

Mr Crabb said other images or films showed four more girls, all aged between eight and 12, who had been photographed or abused by Bidmead.

"In addition, there was a vast amount of child pornography, much of which still has not been viewed.

"The best estimate is that the total exceeds a million and is certainly the largest find in this part of the world."

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