A PAEDOPHILE who admitted possessing indecent images of children has been spared jail.
Paul Ottaway, 64, had 31 indecent images on his mobile phone.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard that 10 of the images were rated at level four - with level five being the most serious category.
Seventeen of the images were at level one, three were at level two and one at level three.
Tom Wright, prosecuting, said the images came to light when Ottaway was arrested for another offence.
He said: ‘Mr Ottaway was in a public park. He had been talking to two young girls of about 12 years of age who were in a tree.
‘He was asking them whether they had boyfriends and whether their boyfriends touched them.’
Ottaway was dealt with by the courts separately for the public order offence and received a conditional discharge.
However Mr Wright said that Ottaway stated while being interviewed by police that ‘he had succumbed to a temptation to subscribe to a sex image text messaging service.’
Megan Topliss, defending, said Ottaway had found a telephone number in a tabloid newspaper responded to it and the images were sent to him by text message from five different mobile phone numbers.
She said he told police that there were images on his mobile phone following his arrest over speaking to the young girls in August last year.
She added: ‘There is no suggestion evidentially that he has ever sought to show the images to anyone else or disseminate them or provide them on to anybody else.’
Ottaway, formerly of Alver Bridge View, Gosport, who now lives at Lime Kiln Lane, Holbury, admitted 11 counts of possessing indecent images of children.
He was sentenced to four months in jail suspended for two years and put under supervision for two years.
Ottaway was told to take part in a sex offender treatment programme for 35 sessions and ordered to pay £200 in court costs.
Judge Roger Hetherington, sentencing, said: ‘The context here shows plainly you were using [the images] for your sexual gratification but the best way of protecting such girls in the future is for you to undergo this [sex offender treatment] programme.’
Ottaway was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.
He was also banned from working with children.