Two million child exploitation images found on man's devices

 

CHILD exploitation images totalling 1.9 million were found by police on an Ipswich man's computer devices when his home was raided.

The large volume of child pornography included 20,062 videos.

In the Crown case heard before Ipswich District Court, senior prosecutor Cecelia Bernardin said the images were located on nine devices in the man's house at Eastern Heights.

Roger Warren Searle, 51, pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing child exploitation material at Eastern Heights on April 21, 2018; and distributing child exploitation material.

Ms Bernardin said police were only able to analyse 50 per cent of his collection because of the volume found.

This included 143,000 images and 576 videos.

Images showed acts on children and included videos depicting bestiality.

Searle had categorised the exploitation material putting it into folders and sub-folders, Ms Bernardin saying some folders held content descriptions. One of the exploitation videos was one hour and 33 minutes long. The police analysis found 907 fell into the most serious categories 4 and 5, with 209 in category 5.

"He told police he'd been downloading the material for a number of years," she said.

"He would download to his desktop until full, then go through them."

The court heard Searle used file sharing peer to peer software.

Ms Bernardin said 576 videos across all five categories involved sexual contact of some sort with children.

"It is a very serious example of this type of offending, not just the sheer amount but the quality," she said.

Defence barrister Malcolm Harrison said slightly less than 950,000 of the 1.9 million images had been reviewed by police.

He said Searle grew up in a chaotic household and when young experienced significant physical discipline and sexual assaults. The abuse had left him withdrawn, distrustful of people, socially isolated and suffering anxiety.

Psychological reports before the court revealed he had shown considerable remorse over his actions, and one viewpoint finding that he had been suffering for decades from undetected post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Harrison acknowledged that what Searle did was not a case of mistakenly downloading the material.

"It is clearly a case where he's intentionally downloaded and put into various files and categories in his computer," Mr Harrison told the court.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC said the volume of material involved was alarming.

"It is a very large volume of material that was located on your various devices. Over 1.9 million images, 20,000 movies," Judge Lynch said.

"Approximately 50 per cent was categorised by police. There were over 140,000 unique images in category one.

"Categories three, four and five were the most serious. There was over 1300 in the most serious categories.

"These children in the videos were victims of serious offences, clearly they were abused.

"By accessing this material you (widen) the market for this conduct, the serial abuse of children for profit."

Judge Lynch took into account the abuse suffered by Searle, its subsequent trauma and damage done, and his remorse. He sentenced Searle to three years' jail, suspended for four years after he serves nine months.