Waterlooville paedophile with 800 'horrific' child abuse images avoids jail due to ‘unusual circumstances’

A PAEDOPHILE who was caught with more than 800 ‘horrific’ child abuse images was spared jail, unpaid work and a fine due to his ‘unusual circumstances’.

By Steve Deeks
Monday, 26th October 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Monday, 26th October 2020, 2:57 pm

Simon Howell, who has learning difficulties and lives a ‘solitary life’, denied having images despite a police bust at his Thrush Walk home in Waterlooville revealing the collection of still and moving images on November 23, 2018.

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The pictures showcased children aged between five and 12 being subjected to - or performing - sex acts.

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Portsmouth Crown Court Picture: César Moreno Huerta

Attempts were made by Howell, 53, to conceal the files on his HP laptop and Samsung mobile phone using encryption methods but examination revealed 14 category A images, 77 category B and 731 category C, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

Lewd searches were also found on the defendant’s devices including ‘boys in shower’, ‘little boys with speedos off’, ‘young boy erection’ and ‘boys naked Japan’, according to prosecutor Simon Gledhill.

Robert Bryan, defending, told the court of Howell’s difficulties. ‘The defendant lives alone and is teased by local youths who call him various names, mentioning a hand deformity,’ he said.

‘He leads a solitary life and was in special needs classes from aged five to 16 at school.’

The barrister also told the court Howell’s hoarding spiralled out of control prompting the ‘council to go in’ to his address at one point.

Howell’s only source of social interaction was through his regular visits to church which were now under threat following his conviction, the court heard.

Howell’s offending took place over a two year spell from June 2016 to November 2018.

He denied three charges of making indecent images of children but was found guilty following a trial in September and continued to deny his offending even during his sentencing.

Judge William Ashworth told Howell: ‘Each image represents a moment in a child’s life where they are horrifically abused in circumstances where they are completely unable to defend themselves with the trauma often life-long.’

The judge continued: ‘You are vulnerable, you live an isolated life and your parents have died.

‘You are someone who has hoarded for a number of years and your one source of contact is your congregation and that’s now in jeopardy.

‘Your behaviour in downloading these images indicates a sexual interest in young children.’

Despite the ‘custody threshold being passed’, the judge decided he was able to ‘come out’ of guidelines for a custodial sentence.

Judge Ashworth added: ‘You live in total isolation and that is a factor that has led you to offend in this way so it is probably best for you to work with probation.’

Howell, who was armed with two large bags for jail, was spared prison with him instead handed a two-year community order and 35 rehabilitation days while also being told to undertake a sex offender’s program.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was also made.

The judge concluded that Howell was ‘unsuitable’ for unpaid work and a curfew while his ‘limited means’ ruled out a fine - meaning there was no usual punitive element for the sentence.

‘Unusually the only punishment is for you having to confront what you did,’ judge Ashworth said.

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