Community order for Sheffield dad who downloaded videos that show children being sexually abused

A Sheffield dad who admitted downloading videos which show children being sexually abused has walked away from court with a community order.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 4:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Christopher Wood, 33, of Sheldon Road, Nether Edge downloaded illegal videos which show children estimated to be as young as 'seven or eight' being sexually abused

Christopher Wood, 33, was caught out after police received information that someone using an IP address linked to a property in Sheldon Road, Nether Edge was accessing illegal material involving children.

This led to a police search of Wood’s property on November 27, 2017, during which a number of electronic devices, including an Acer laptop, were seized.

During a hearing held today, Adam Walker, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court that Wood was ‘very frank’ with officers and admitted it was him that had been ‘accessing illegal images of children’.

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“The Acer computer was the only device that revealed the presence of illegal material,” said Mr Walker.

Analysis of the computer revealed that Wood had downloaded one video of Category A – the most serious of the legal categories which is defined as material that shows children being raped – as well as one video of Category C and a 15 minute video depicting extreme pornography.

Mr Walker said the Category A video involved ‘one girl aged 13 and another girl participating who looks to be seven or eight’.

The Category C video had footage of a girl aged between 10 and 11-years-old.

Mr Walker told the court that Wood exercised his right to answer ‘no comment’ during a police interview held in April this year.

Wood, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to two counts of downloading indecent images of children and to another count of possessing extreme pornography at an earlier hearing.

Mr Walker told the court that the most serious charged faced by Wood, of Sheldon Road, Nether Edge was the charge relating to the Category A video, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

He said the starting point for the charge should be 12 months, with a sentencing range of 26 weeks to three years.

Andrew Petterson, defending, questioned why it had taken two years for the matter to get to court given the admissions Wood ‘made at the scene’.

“As a consequence of this delay, this defendant has been unable to see his eldest child who is 10-years-old or has been able to see his youngest child who was born during the period that he was under investigation,” Mr Petterson said.

He continued by saying there was a ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’ in Wood’s case, adding that he has ‘taken steps to address his offending’.

“The court could step away from imposing a suspended sentence,” Mr Petterson.

Recorder Duncan Smith sentenced Wood to a two-year community order, a requirement of which will be up to 31 sessions on the Horizon programme which seeks to reduce an offender’s ‘risk of sexual offending’.

He also ordered Wood to complete up to 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement programme and made him the subject of a seven-year sexual harm prevention order.

Wood will also be on the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.

Recorder Smith told Wood: “Christopher Wood I think you know yourself how wrong it was. I’m not going to send you to prison, I’m going to following the recommendation in the pre-sentence report [for a community order]. This is the only occasion this has happened...I don’t expect to see you again.”