Hurst Green man who downloaded indecent images of children given suspended sentence

Police raided his home after receiving intelligence
Police raided his home after receiving intelligence

A 64-year-old man from Hurst Green area who downloaded 153 indecent images of children has walked out of court with a suspended sentence.

Peter Hoath, of Great Oak, has received threats from the community since he admitted downloading the images of children.

Hoath had pleaded guilty to three charges of downloading indecent images of children at a previous hearing.

Prosecutor Paul Fairley said: “Police had gone to his home address on September 26 of last year, having been alerted that his IP address had accessed various sites containing indecent images of children over a number of dates.”

Officers seized various devices and indecent images – by that time deleted and inaccessible – were found.

Of the 153 images, 41 were at Category A, the most serious category.

Defence barrister Rebecca Upton said: “He has expressed his remorse and shame for his behaviour.

“These offences are on his mind from the moment he wakes to the moment he goes to bed.”

She told the court that Hoath has received threats from the community since pleading guilty, and his marriage has ended.

She also cited his previous good character and the fact that there is no suggestion that his offending involved attempts to contact children or the sharing of images.

Sentencing him, Judge Shani Barnes said: “These are extremely serious offences, you are absolutely right to feel shame. Why wouldn’t you? It is the least I would expect.

“The fact that your wife has left you and your suffering some reprobation from the community is extremely difficult, no doubt, but I have to consider potentially 150 children who have been violently abused so that you can be titillated.”

Hoath was given a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

He must undergo rehabilitation, complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

A spokesman for the Lucy Faithfull Foundation said: "If you are concerned about what you are looking at online, or the online behaviour of someone you know, you can call the confidential and anonymous ‘Stop It Now’ helpline on 0808 1000 900 for advice, support and help to stop. Or visit https://get-help.stopitnow.org.uk/ to find out more."