A COVENTRY pensioner who searched for and downloaded horrific images of child abuse, including a baby being raped, has been jailed.
And as a stunned Gerald Aldridge was led from the dock at Warwick Crown Court to begin his 12-month prison sentence, he protested to a custody officer: “I can’t do this.”
Aldridge (71) of Grange Road, Coventry, who was ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years, had pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children.
Prosecutor Simon Burch said that in April 2018 the police went to Aldridge’s home with a search warrant and seized a number of devices, including his phone.
On it they discovered 227 still images and 47 movies classed as being in category A, showing children, including babies, being subjected to penetrative sex acts.
“The images showed invariably very young children being penetrated by adult males,” said Mr Burch.
And Judge Sylvia de Bertodano remarked she was not going to describe some of the other sick images.
Mr Burch said that as well as those images, there were 181 stills and nine movies in category B, showing children involved in non-penetrative sexual activity.
And there were 177 stills and two movies in category C of children in naked or indecent poses.
Aldridge’s tablet was also checked, and although there were no images on it, it showed he had been searching for images of sex with very young children.
Mr Burch added that Aldridge, who was of previous good character, made full admissions when he was questioned about the images and his searches for them.
Christopher Jones, defending, said: “We accept straight away these offences cross the custody threshold, but you may take the view that that sentence of imprisonment may be suspended.”
Mr Jones argued that an immediate sentence ‘may distance him further from his family.’
He said Aldridge was ‘not a well man,’ having recently had two strokes and suffering from diabetes, which would make prison harder for him, and suggested: “It is the sort of case that cries out, perhaps, for rehabilitation.”
But jailing Aldridge, Judge de Bertodano told him: “These were particularly unpleasant images even for this sort of case.
“These are pictures not of some fictional scenario, but of real children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse. In looking at these images you are directly contributing to the rape and abuse of those very young children.
“It is very sad to see someone like you appear at your age in front of me for these very, very serious offences, and it has affected your relationship with your daughters and the rest of your family.
“But it must be a sentence of immediate custody for cases like this, which we see more and more frequently.
“These are particularly unpleasant images of really serious criminal offences being committed. When people contribute to the abuse of children in this way, it can only be dealt with by an immediate sentence.”