Caravan park worker who had images of children ‘ in pain and distress ’ is jailed
Caravan Park Staff
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A former caravan park worker who downloaded nearly 1,000 indecent images of young children has been jailed for 18 months.
Images downloaded by Matthew Legg included children between the ages of six months and 13 years, some of whom were said to be depicted in “pain and distress”, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.
Legg, 52, of Valley Road, Swanage, admitted committing the offences between January 2016 and January 2018.
A total of 86 of the images were category A – the most serious – with 110 in category B and 764 in category C.
Judge Robert Pawson heard that Legg, who was convicted of indecent assault of two young children in 2000, was living in a caravan at the time he was arrested on January 22 last year.
Defending, Tim Shorter, said Legg, who now works as a gardener for elderly people, accepts that he needs help.
He urged the judge to refer him for treatment and not to send him to prison.
And he said Legg has had no one to talk to and has been forced to move on from many locations when people found out he is a convicted child abuser.
But Judge Pawson told Legg: “If people like you were not downloading images of babies being sexually abused then people would not sexually abuse them.
“You knew precisely the risk you were taking.”
The court heard that a probation report considered Legg has a “high risk of reconviction.”
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the category A offences with a further nine months for category B and two months for category C, to run concurrently.
He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Police launch hunt for a paedophile after he skips Exeter court sentencing
A sex offender has disappeared without trace in the city, after he was given bail despite admitting that he had previously failed to stay in touch with police.
Paedophile Matthew Legg, of no settled address, did not turn up at Exeter Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for not keeping his details on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
Concern had previously been raised when city magistrates bailed him to appear at the crown court for sentencing for the offence, after he had been convicted of it for a second time.
Judge Stephen Wildblood QC issued a warrant for Legg’s arrest and said the police should be instructed to track him down as quickly as possible.
“He needs to be found,” said the judge.
Legg, 42, was due to be sentenced, having admitted that he failed to notify a change of address on the register.
Judges and the children’s charity Kidscape raised concerns when he was released on bail by magistrates last month.
Defence counsel Nigel Wraith told the crown court yesterday that an announcement had been made over the public address in the building for Legg to report to reception to meet him, without success.
Prosecutor Brian Pixton asked the judge to issue a warrant for Legg’s arrest without bail, which means he will be held in custody until his next court appearance if he is found.
Judge Wildblood said: “There are obvious concerns about him and he must be found.”
Magistrates last month said they had no choice but to bail him, while he awaited sentencing.
He had pleaded guilty to failing to notify the police of his change of address to Devon.
The magistrates heard he had moved to Axmouth, in East Devon, and was sleeping rough in Exeter.
He had appeared at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court in Exeter, where he was told the seriousness of the breach warranted a lengthy prison term and he would have to be sentenced at crown court instead.
Legg was convicted of three counts of sexual assault against two girls under 14 in December, 2000.
He travelled to Devon and began living at a campsite in Axmouth, near Seaton, in mid-June.
Devon & Cornwall police had received information from Thames Valley police that Legg might be hiding in the area and an investigation began.
Checks with the Department of Works and Pension revealed he was living at Axmouth.
When he was arrested, he said he left his previous address on June 13 and knew he should have notified police.
Legg had already been found guilty of failing to notify the police of his change of address in 2002.
Lynda Hodgson, defending, told the magistrates that Legg had been meeting the conditions of his bail and reporting to Heavitree Road police station in the city every day since his arrest on July 11.
Peter White, chairman of the magistrates, told the defendant: “We reluctantly have to grant you bail because you have adhered to your conditions and have committed no further offences since your arrest.”