Tong man jailed for ‘appalling’ child abuse images

A MAN who went on the run after being caught hoarding hundreds of “disgusting and appalling” images of babies and infants being sexually violated has been jailed for 12 months.

Liam Heaton, 32, pleaded guilty to seven offences of making indecent photographs of children on or before October 8, 2015.

Prosecutor David Gordon told Bradford Crown Court today that Heaton’s then home in Holme Lane, Tong, Bradford, was searched after the police received information that indecent images of children had been downloaded at the address.

Three computers were seized from his bedroom that contained hundreds of indecent images of female children as young as babies, many at the most serious Category A.

Heaton had file-sharing software and specialist software to cleanse and erase his browser history.

He was charged with the offences and failed to appear at the magistrates’ court in April, 2016.

On December 2 that year, Heaton pleaded guilty to failing to surrender and was fined £110.

He was sent to Bradford Crown Court on January 4, 2017, but did not turn up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In May this year, he was brought to the crown court in custody and denied the offences but he appeared again on June 18 and pleaded guilty to all seven counts.

Mr Gordon said the still and moving images included children in pain, some of them tied up.

Heaton’s barrister, Nicola Hunter, said he was a man of previous good character who had now been held in custody for eight weeks.

He jumped his bail because he was lost psychologically and frightened.

Heaton had used his time while at large to set up a gym that gave free sessions to those suffering with mental health problems.

He committed the offences against a background of abuse in an environment of oppression that led to a lack of social skills and confidence.

Heaton had found it difficult to face up to what he had done and the severity of the offences.

He had deep regret, shame and repulsion and wanted help and counselling to prevent further offending in the future.

Judge Jonathan Rose accepted that Heaton had a difficult upbringing in abusive family circumstances.

He had run away from both the magistrates and crown courts because he could not face the consequences of his actions.

These were exceptionally serious offences that the court could not overlook. Heaton had derived sexual pleasure from viewing the “disgusting and appalling” material and made every effort to use his high level knowledge of computers to avoid detection.

Judge Rose made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Heaton must sign on the sex offender register for ten years.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News