An Asfordby Valley grandfather could face a prison sentence after admitting downloading indecent images of children.
Reginald Edwards (69), of North Street, was said to have shown ‘a great deal of remorse’ for what he had done when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Friday afternoon.
Of the 50 photographs found on his computer, 35 were found to be of a Category A level, considered the most severe content on the scale.
Magistrates committed the case to Leicester Crown Court to enable a stronger sentence to be passed than they were able to, with a custodial term a possibility.
The hearing was told that police officers executed a warrant at Edwards’ home on December 1 at 7.25am.
Prosecutor Qwok Wan said: “During a conversation with officers, the defendant said he had seen images of children accidentally when they popped up on his computer screen.
“He was taken to the police station, a laptop was recovered and a forensic examination carried out on it.
“A total of 35 Category A images were discovered on the laptop, six Category B, six Category C and three prohibited images, which were cartoons as opposed to live participants.”
The images were all found to have been downloaded last year between September 7 and November 30.
The court heard that 40 of the images had been deleted, including 31 of the Category A level ones.
Mr Wan said the majority of the images related to children aged five or six.
Edwards admitted using the images for ‘sexual gratification’, the prosecutor said, but he denied sharing any or saving any to an external hard drive or device.
“Mr Edwards told police officers he accepted the images found were as a result of his online activity,” said Mr Wan.
“He confirmed he had viewed and downloaded images of girls ranging from five to 18 years of age.
“The defendant said no-one else had access to the laptop and he had never spent more than 10 minutes looking at any of the images.”
Mr Wan said Edwards, who wept in the dock as details of the case were outlined, was a person of previous good character but that the offences warranted a custodial sentence of at least 12 months.
He called for the defendant’s laptop to be impounded and disposed of in accordance with the police chief constable’s wishes.
Edwards’ defence counsel told the court his client had kept away from his eight grandchildren as a result of an order at a previous hearing banning him from having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16 until his sentencing hearing.
He had previously babysat for the children and was concerned he would now lose contact with them because of his actions, magistrates were told.
“Mr Edwards concedes he was looking for different types of pornography when images of child pornography came up which he used for his own sexual gratification,” the defence solicitor told the hearing.
“He realises that it could have been one of his own grand-daughters in the images and there is a great deal of remorse and realisation of what he has done.”
Edwards’ defence counsel said the defendant did not fit the criteria of someone who needed to follow a sex treatment programme.
He added: “His offending is at the lower end of the scale. I would suggest a suspended sentence and a period of unpaid work would be a suitable punishment having read the probation officer’s report.”
But the magistrates decided to commit the case to crown court on June 16.
Edwards was remanded on conditional bail and ordered to register with Melton police in accordance with the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
He is also banned from having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16 until he is sentenced.