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Saturday, July 18, 2020

July 18, 2020
image: stuart eldridge rushden

A Rushden paedophile who viewed images of child abuse - including one depraved file involving a toddler - has been spared from prison.

Simon Wagstaff, who turns 50 next week, was instead handed a community order after admitting his sick sexual interest in children.

Yesterday (Thursday) Northampton Crown Court heard police attended his home in Windmill Road in May 2018, but he wasn't there and two phones were seized.

He was later arrested at work where another phone was taken from him and all three were examined by investigators.

In total 166 vile images and videos were found. They included 43 in category A - the most depraved - 12 in category B and 111 in category C.

Prosecutor Phil Plant told the court most were of young girls but one image involved a toddler.

The court heard Wagstaff had 'struggled to cope' after his mother's death in 2014 and had started chatting to other men on the internet.

He was sent an image of child abuse and Liam Muir, mitigating, said Wagstaff had driven himself "to a position he detests".

Mr Muir said: "He is disgusted with his actions. He is extremely remorseful."

Wagstaff admitted three counts of making indecent images of children in June and the court heard he has been seeking help from child sexual abuse prevention charity Stop It Now.

Judge Rebecca Crane said: "Your openness in seeking help bodes well."

Wagstaff faced a possible prison sentence but was instead sentenced to two-year community order with rehabilitation requirements and 120 hours of unpaid work.

He will be on the register for sex offenders for five years and was made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order, restricting his use of devices and the internet.

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