An Oldham man who was found with thousands of prohibited images of children has been spared jail – because of how long it took the case to come to court.
Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard police carried out a warrant at the home of Jeronimas Sapronas in September 2017.
They discovered a variety of devices belonging to the 36-year-old which were sent off to be investigated.
The results showed that over the 12 month he had downloaded 47 category A, the most serious, indecent images of children, five category B and eight category C.
He was also found to be in possession of 8518 prohibited images of children.
Sapronas confessed to the downloading and possession of the images between May 2016 and May 2017 and appeared in court to be sentenced.
Prosecutor Andrew MacKintosh revealed what he told the police.
He said: “He was interviewed in January 2020.
“He said he had been employed to set up a massive infrastructure system in a tower block and that contract had come to an end and he had been given a large number of hardware devices.
“He was asked why there were searches for images on the computer and he admitted he had become interested in pornography as he had been having mental health problems at the time.
“He denied that he got sexual gratification from the images.”
He also said the computer had Tor installed which is a means of browsing the dark web anonymously and there was evidence of a file sharing facility.
As well as this he explained the delays in bringing the case to court were because there were so many devices that needed to be inspected and then because of the Covid pandemic.
Representing the man from Glenridding Close in Oldham, defence counsel Erinmaz Mushtaq said her client was remorseful for his actions.
She said: “The defendant has little recollection as to how the images came to be on his device.
“He fully accepts be downloaded the material and viewed the material.
“He is sorry and remorseful for his actions.
“He understands these offences will properly disgust the public, he is disgusted himself.”
She added that he had been given the opportunity to flee the country but had returned knowing this conviction was looming.
Judge John Edwards said it was a “close call” on whether to suspend a sentence.
He said: “This was a sickening haul at your home in September 2017.
“It is only because the offences are now four years old that I am not sending you immediately to prison, but for that you would be going straight to prison.”
He suspended a sentence of 16 months for two years, ordered Sapronas to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days, complete the Maps for Change Programme and placed him on the sex offenders’ register and on a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
Want more stuff like this?
Get the best dnm stories straight into your inbox!