September 2013

Halifax man downloaded tens of thousands of child abuse images

A Halifax man who downloaded more than 60,000 child abuse images and films has been made the subject of a three-year community order.

Michael Gledhill, 48, was sentenced by a judge at Bradford Crown Court after a police investigation which began more than three years ago.

Prosecutor Simon Haring said the police inquiry began in July 2010 and when officers searched Geldhill’s home in December 2010 they found a large amount of computer equipment.

The police examination of the equipment revealed just over 63,000 indecent images and videos of children with more than 57,000 of them at the lowest level of seriousness.

But Mr Haring said there were 91 images and 12 videos at the most serious level.

The court heard that technical problems with the police equipment led to lengthy delays in the case and Gledhill was only able to plead guilty to a series of charges relating to the possession of indecent images of children at Calderdale Magistrates Court last month.

Gledhill, of Bell Hall Terrace, Halifax, also admitted a further charge of voyeurism relating to video footage he took of a teenager putting on swimming trunks at a leisure centre.

During questioning by police Geldhill accepted downloading the images and films of children, but said he was only interested in males.

Lawyer Kieron Green, for Gledhill, said his client had made full admissions during five police interviews and there were positive signs that the defendant accepted his responsibility and wanted to make lasting changes in his life.

Judge David Hatton QC said he had read a pre-sentence report on Gledhill carefully and there did appear to be a willingness to seek assistance.

“I have come to the conclusion that that is something that should be seized upon and attempted but you must understand of course that any breaches of the order are likely to result in you being re-sentenced in a different way,” the judge told Gledhill.

Under the community order Gledhill will have to take part in a high-level 60-day activity programme and he will also be subject to a sexual offences prevention order.

Gledhill, who had no previous convictions, will also have to register as a sex offender with the police for the next five years.