British Court’s failing to keep our children safe yet AGAIN

Published on 7 January 2020 by Kirsty

Filed under Community, Law

Last modified 19 January 2021

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Paedophile, 35, avoids jail despite being caught with half a MILLION child porn images.

A paedophile who spent four-and-a-half years amassing almost half a million child abuse images on computers and hard drives has avoided jail.    

Robert Swanepoel, 35, from Swindon, was caught with a hoard of vile images so large that authorities only managed to categorise around 47,000 pictures and video clips – having to leave a further 400,000.   

The sex case, who searched parts of the internet for terms such as ‘teen’ and ‘young little girls’ before he was caught by police in November 2018, denied being sexually attracted to children and claimed he posed no danger, Swindon Crown Court heard.

When asked about the depraved images, he said: ‘It’s like a drug addiction.’ 

Swanepoel was handed a six-month suspended sentence at Swindon Crown Court on January 6 after admitting the charges against him.

A court heard that Swanepoel first viewed child abuse images when an pop-up directed him to a illicit website.

But Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, said that, after that, he began looking for the vile images.

The substantial collection was saved on a Toshiba laptop, an Acer computer, Firestorm hard drive and a Kingston USB stick.

Some files had been encrypted and the collection had been sorted into categories.

Swanepoel was finally caught by detectives in November 2018, with more than 21 hours’ worth of abuse videos as well as the images.

He admitted making 34 category A indecent images of children – which includes images depicting rape – 126 still images and 45 videos in the middle category and 46,430 images and 168 movies in category B.

He also had 34 prohibited images of children.

Emma Handslip, defending, told Swindon Crown Court her client had grown increasingly isolated – despite holding down a job at the same company for 15 years.

Hinting at health difficulties, she said: ‘This is somebody who has had a very, very difficult and challenging life from a very young age.

‘This is not an excuse for his behaviour but perhaps an explanation to the court about why he’s become isolated.’

She added that Swanepoel had come clean at the earliest opportunity during his interview with detectives.

Despite the significant 13-month delay in the case getting to court, Swanepoel had kept off the police radar.

There was no suggestion that he had viewed any further child abuse images after he was arrested. The images he did collect had not been distributed.

Ms Handslip pointed to the conclusions of a pre-sentence report compiled by the probation service, saying there was a realistic likelihood Swanepoel could be rehabilitated and kept out of prison.

Swanepoel was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years, with Judge Jason Taylor QC acknowledging the defendant could be rehabilitated.

He said: ‘There were a further 400,000 images and videos that were not reviewed given the sheer number.

‘But the aggravating features involved in the case was that you had made searches, there were multiple victims some of a very young age, your offending lasted over a four-and-a-half year period and you had even taken the time to categorise the images some in encrypted folders.’

Swanepoel must complete 40 rehabilitation activity sessions and abide by a six-month curfew.

He was made subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and will need to sign on to the sex offenders’ register for a decade.

This is not the first time that Judge Jason Taylor QC  has let paedophiles walk free. Darren Brazier was spared jail for the third time, he also had over million indecent images and videos depicting child rape.