A man from Northamptonshire has avoided a prison sentence for viewing child abuse images after a judge heard he was forced to take part in similar acts himself as a child.
The man, who cannot be named, had looked at 2,153 indecent images and videos of teenage boys and girls and at least one picture involving a baby.
But during mitigation, Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday that past abuse between the ages of nine and 16 by a family friend - including being forced to pose for indecent pictures - led him to look at the images to try to make sense of what happened.
His defence claimed he even thought of the images ‘fondly’ as the viewing of and posing for the pictures had been normalised in him by his abuser.
Sentencing him, Judge Lynn Tayton said it was a most unusual case as the defendant had sought no sexual gratification, but was compelled to view the images because of his distorted childhood. She would therefore not be sending him to jail.
She said: “The way in which you came to view these images is quite different from most people because you have had your childhood blighted.
“Your life beyond the point of the abuse was distorted and therefore your culpability is reduced more than anyone who has come before me in a case like this.”
The man was given a community order to help him stop viewing the images. If he fails to comply, it is likely he would be jailed.
He will also be placed on the sex offender’s register and is banned from deleting the search history on any device he uses to access the internet, which must be made available to the authorities at all times.