A pervert was caught with sickening child abuse images on his phone while serving a sentence for performing a sex act in public, a court has heard.
Awais Ahmed, 30, tried to claim he only had the vile images because he was 'curious', Manchester Crown Court was told. But Judge Timothy Smith said this was a 'rather weak' explanation and that Ahmed had been 'gaining sexual pleasure and visual stimulation'.
Ahmed, of Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, was convicted of outraging public decency in 2017, the court heard. He was seen to be committing a sex act in a vehicle on two occasions, the court was told. Ahmed was sentenced to a community order and was still taking part in the 'Horizon' programme for men who have committed a sexual offence and are deemed to be at risk of reoffending when he was arrested on 'unrelated matters', prosecutor Alison Mather said.
Police seized his Samsung phone and found hundreds of images of child sexual abuse that were in his possession between October 2018 and February 2019, the court heard. There were two images deemed Category A, the most serious example of abuse, ten Category B images and 233 Category C images, Miss Mather said. Ahmed made no comment when interviewed but later admitted three counts of possession of indecent images.
In his basis of plea, the prosecution said, Ahmed accepted that phone records show he used the words 'paedo', 'kiddy' and 'young' but claimed this was not in relation to child abuse material. He said he would have used the word 'young' in relation to his ex-partner's children and that 'kiddy' and 'paedo' would have been insults during an argument with friends. Verity Quaite, defending, said that Ahmed has been struggling with mental health issues and that he had himself suffered 'traumatic experiences' in childhood.
Ahmed had brought a bag of belongings to court on the expectation that he would be jailed and wept uncontrollably when Judge Smith said he would spared immediate custody. The number of indecent images found was 'relatively low level', Judge Smith said. "That is not to downplay what they show, it is abuse, these are not pseudo images or cartoons, these are real children suffering real harm," he added.
"The purpose of such videos is to play into the desires of people such as yourself, dredging the darkest depths of the internet looking for such imagery." Judge Smith said that while Ahmed's crimes crossed the custody threshold, any sentence of imprisonment would have had to be a 'short term'. The judge decided to impose a sentence that he felt would both 'protect the public' and lead to Ahmed's 'rehabilitation'.
He sentenced Ahmed to six months in prison, suspended for two years and 180 hours unpaid work. He must also complete up to 15 rehabilitation days and is subjected to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years. As he left court, Ahmed said: "Thank you Your Honour, I won't let you down I promise."