Cartoonist ‘viewed child abuse images as part of artistry work’

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A CARTOONIST claimed he only downloaded indecent images of children because he ‘liked to draw them’, a court heard.

Hayling Island artist Mark Diplock, 39, was discovered with the disturbing images at his home address The Glade after police were alerted to the downloading of the images, Portsmouth Crown Court was told.

Officers went round to the defendant’s home where they seized his laptop where the images were found, prosecutor James Kellam said.

‘Mr Diplock said that as a cartoonist he liked to draw images of children,’ Mr Kellam said.

In defence, Howard Barrington-Clark, said the downloading of one category A and one category B image, alongside three category C and 12 prohibitive images, took place between 2013 and 2015.

‘It was only a small number of images,’ the lawyer said but conceded his client had ‘his head in the sand’.

Judge William Mousley QC said he viewed Diplock’s mitigation that he was only viewing the images as part of his cartoon artistry work with a ‘degree of skepticism’.

Diplock, who pleaded guilty to three counts of downloading indecent images of children and one charge of possessing a prohibited image of a child, was sentenced to a 24-month community order and 35 rehabilitation days.

He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for five years and given a sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.

The sexual harm prevention order will restrict his use of the internet.