York & North Yorkshire

Scarborough man given suspended sentence for child images

A man reported to police by his wife after she found thousands of indecent images of children on his computer has been given a suspended jail sentence.

York Crown Court heard the images were found on David Lightfoot's laptop after he went to visit his parents and left his computer at home in Scarborough.

The 58-year-old was given a six-month term, suspended for two years.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said Lightfoot had "an unhealthy sexual interest in children".

'Bored and drunk'

Lightfoot, of Aberdeen Walk, admitted 17 counts of making indecent images of children and six of distributing indecent images.

The court was told he claimed he was "bored and drunk" when he downloaded them.

The files were in a folder marked "adult" and the court heard Lightfoot's wife contacted police on realising the nature of its content.

Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, said: "She immediately phoned the police and reported the matter to them. She phoned the defendant and told him she had informed the police.

"He tried to persuade her to call off the police and said he was going to commit suicide."

'Posing as woman'

Lightfoot was arrested in August 2010 when police found 3,000 images including one graded at "level five", deemed the most serious.

Officers also found evidence Lightfoot had used photo-sharing websites to access images and that he was also posing on the internet as a woman called Michelle and was offering two young girls for abuse.

The Recorder of York judge Stephen Ashurst was told Lightfoot, who served in the navy and worked for the Prison Service, appeared before the court "thoroughly disgusted with himself".

He said he was able to suspend the jail term due to mitigating factors, including his poor health, "public shaming" and his low risk of reoffending.

He said his wife had remained "remarkably loyal and supportive" and she had suggested Lightfoot needed help rather than prison.

Lightfoot's lawyer Glenn Parsons said: "He says he is somewhat relieved that all this has come out.

"His behaviour came about after he lost his job in the Prison Service due to ill health. He sank into deep depression and heavy drinking."

The judge also made Lightfoot the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

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