Disgraced Sheffield man caught with 292 indecent images of children apologises and denies being paedophile
A disgraced man who was caught with 292 indecent images of children after a police raid at his home has apologised.
Sheffield Crown Court heard on August 24 how Steven Hale, aged 55, of Thornbridge Place, Frecheville, Sheffield, was found to have 235 category A indecent images, five category B indecent images and 52 category C indecent images on two electronic devices, with category A being the most serious.
Zaiban Alam, prosecuting, said: “The police executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home at Thornbridge Place, Sheffield, on March 11, 2019.
“The defendant was present and the police officers seized a number of devices and subjected them to forensic examination and two devices had indecent images and there was extreme pornography on a third device.”
Ms Alam added that the separate extreme pornography included two images showing realistic intercourse with a live or dead animal on the third device.
The court heard the seized devices included a tablet and two phones.
Hale told police he had sought out the indecent images and described this as an addiction but he denied gaining any sexual gratification and claimed he was not a paedophile but he was “absolutely disgusted” with himself.
The defendant, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing or making indecent images of children and he also admitted two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images.
Recorder Alex Menary confirmed with defence barrister Kevin Jones that Hale has stayed out of trouble since these matters came to light.
He told Hale: “Officers were on duty and went to your home address and arrested you at that time on suspicion of possession of indecent images.”
Recorder Menary added he was satisfied that anyone with such material in this amount would have had a sexual interest in children but he recognised these were old offences and that the probation service has stated there is a low risk of re-offending.
He sentenced Hale to an 18-month community order with a rehabilitation requirement and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Hale was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to run alongside his Sex Offenders Register requirements for five years.
Hale asked for permission to speak and told the court: “I want to apologise to everybody, that’s all.”