Grantham student jailed for downloading images of baby abuse

Court news.
Court news.

A student who downloaded “abhorrent” images of babies being sexually abused was locked up by a judge on Tuesday.

Connal Rochford attracted the attention of police after he was discovered to have had internet chats with an older man in Wales in which they discussed abusing children.

Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that as a result police carried out a search of Rochford’s home in Grantham and seized a laptop computer and mobile phone.

When the items were checked they were found to contain more than 1,200 indecent images of children.

Mr Dunne said the first images were downloaded in June 2013 when Rochford was only 17 years old and further images were downloaded in the period to July 2015.

The prosecutor said: “What marks this case as being unusual is the type of images involved. They involve very, very young children. Some are under the age of one year old.”

The court was told that Rochford has no previous convictions.

Rochford, now aged 20, of Mossdale Close, Grantham, admitted three charges of making a total of 1,244 indecent images of children. He also admitted possession of extreme pornography and possession of a prohibited image of a child.

He was sent to a young offenders’ institution for eight months.

Rochford was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and given a sexual harm prevention order which aims to restrict his behaviour after his release from his sentence.

Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, rejected a defence plea not to send Rochford straight into custody. The judge said “I am afraid I don’t feel I can do my public duty by suspending the sentence because of the period of time this went on, because of the number of images involved and because of the age of some of these children.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said a psychological assessment revealed that Rochford suffers from ADHD and depression.

He said his client was immature and had become socially isolated.

Mr Watson said “The defendant found himself in a crisis of identity. He has since demonstrated a degree of insight and remorse.

“It is recognised by him and his family that these images are abhorrent and vile.”

Mr Watson urged that Rochford should receive a suspended sentence.