Wantage man jailed over thousands of baby abuse images

A man who downloaded thousands of images of distressed babies and children being abused by adults has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

James Howell, 34, downloaded 27,000 images and videos over 10 years.

Some 6,500 showed babies and children aged under two being seriously sexually abused by adults.

Howell, of Oxford Lane in Wantage, Oxfordshire, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London after admitting eight offences.

'Harrowing case'

Sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said the images showed "children being tortured by the crimes that are being committed against them".

Howell was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The images were discovered in a raid on his home on 25 May.

Peter Zinner, prosecuting, said: "These acts must have been committed and photographed by the children's parents, or a parent, or people who were entrusted with the care of these children.

"It is a harrowing case and one that will scar us for many years to come."

He added: "The children depicted show clear evidence of extreme distress as a result of the acts being forced upon them."

The court heard Howell distributed the images to "like-minded individuals" over the internet.

Jennifer Gray, defending, said her client was "deeply ashamed".

Howell pleaded guilty to two counts of downloading indecent photographs of children and six counts of distributing that material, when he appeared at City of Westminster magistrates last month.

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