Repeat offender had 2,500 abuse pictures

JAILED Peter Bethell
JAILED Peter Bethell
Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

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A REGISTERED sex offender who hid almost 2,500 indecent images of children aged between eight and 14 on his computer has been jailed for 12 months.

Peter Bethell, 63, of Jervis House in Iachino Avenue, Hilsea, admitted 30 separate offences including possessing extreme abuse pictures.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Bethell previously avoided jail for similar offences involving children – which is why police were carrying out a routine check at his home when the images were found.

Tammy Mears, prosecuting, told the court how police found 2,363 images cached – not saved – on the defendant’s laptop, including cartoon depictions of abuse, videos and pictures of bestiality.

‘The offences came to light only because the defendant is a registered sex offender and checks are made by the police,’ she said.

‘At around noon on November 28 2012, a routine check was carried out on him in Jervis House.’

In 2009 Bethell was given a four-month suspended prison sentence for making and possessing indecent images, and he completed a 12-month internet sexual offender course.

Miss Mears said 225 of the images fell into categories four and five, which are the most serious.

Robert Forrest, defending, told the court his client had not bought another computer since the police seized his in 2012 to stop himself looking at indecent images.

He said: ‘He knows even without his previous conviction, these offences cry out for custody. He said it scares the life out of him.’

Mr Forrest said his client would not receive the help to overcome his urges if he was sent to prison.

However, Recorder Nicholas Rowland said he had no other option than immediate imprisonment.

He said: ‘There comes a time when the seriousness of this sort of offending outbalances all the mitigation that is presented.

‘These are extremely serious offences.

‘People like you help the trade of child pornography and it leads to the abuse 
of children worldwide,’ he said.

‘These offences are so serious that only a period in custody is justified.’

A sexual offences prevention order was also issued until further notice and Bethell has to sign the sexual offenders’ register again.