A former school teacher from Cardiff has been jailed after downloading thousands of images of child abuse – some involving boys as young as 10.
Paul Fisher admitted possessing more than 2,000 pornographic images of children and distributing more than 800 images using a peer-to-peer file sharing site.
Sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court , Judge Daniel Williams told the defendant: “You must recognise that behind each of those images is a real child.”
The court heard the 68-year-old was already the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed in 2012 following similar offending.
Prosecutor Paul Hewitt said the order was “for public protection” and banned the defendant from viewing or downloading images of children online.
He said police went to his address in Angus Street in Roath on November 10 last year and seized his laptop and USB memory sticks.
The equipment was analysed and officers found 78 of the most serious Category A images, 921 at Category B, and 1,052 at Category C.
Fisher was arrested and taken to the police station where he admitted using a file sharing site to distribute 870 images, including 600 films – a mixture of Categories A, B and C.
Prosecutors said he had a previous conviction for indecent assault, dating back to 1985, along with convictions for making and possessing indecent images.
Mr Hewitt said: “The author of the pre-sentence report says he presents a high risk of further sexual offending.”
The defendant admitted possessing and distributing indecent images of children as well as breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Karl Williams, defending, said his client made full and frank admissions in his police interview and did not try to hide anything.
The court heard he told officers: “I don’t believe myself to be predatory. I’m not a risk to the public.”
Mr Williams said Fisher was suffering from ill health at the time and has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
He added his client has been volunteering as an art teacher in custody.
The defence barrister said: “He is a very intelligent man who is fully cognisant with the problems he has. He apologises to the court for appearing again.”
Judge Williams noted the images involved mostly boys, some aged as young as 10.
He said: “It is clear that you do present a high risk of future offending.”
Fisher was jailed for three years.
After the case an NSPCC Wales spokesman said: “Every time Fisher viewed one of these images he was looking at a crime scene and a damaged child.
“It is right that Fisher has been jailed and we hope this sends out a strong message that those caught downloading indecent images of children will face the full force of the law.
“Viewing and downloading child abuse material increases its proliferation on the internet and creates further victims.”