Wearside DWP worker viewed indecent images of underage teenage girls for 'escapism'

A married government worker viewed indecent images of underage teenage girls for “escapism”, a court heard.

Sunday, 21st February 2021, 12:32 pm

Police found 47 category C photos of children on Colin Handyside’s computer when they raided his property in Sulgrave Road, Sulgrave, Washington.

The then Department for Work and Pensions employee’s offending, between August 11, 2014 and May 10, 2018, came after the deaths of three of his brothers, magistrates were told.

As a result of his arrest for his one-off and only criminal conviction, Handyside, 65, resigned from his decade-long job.

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard police found 47 category C photos of children on Colin Handyside’s computer when they raided his property in Sulgrave Road, Sulgrave, Washington.

He has now been sentenced to 45 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service after a judge heard he was at low risk of further offending.

And he must spend the next 16 weeks indoors, between 6pm and 6am, as part of an electronically monitored curfew and 24-month community order.

Prosecutor Grace Taylor told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “Police receive intelligence that indecent images were being accessed by the defendant.

“A black Acer tower was forensically examined, and 47 category C images were found.”

Amy Hossack, defending, said: “Ultimately, he’s a man of previous good character who appears to have been going through some difficult times in his life.

“At the time, he had his son and his partner living with him and he had lost three brothers in the past three years.

“They were arguing and there was a lot of tumult in the house. Viewing the images was escapism for him.

“He’s very remorseful and upset at the whole process. He worked for the DWP for a decade, but as a result of this he has resigned.

“He’s lost his job and he finds himself before the court. All of this has served to punish him considerably.”

Handyside admitted making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, with category C being the lowest offence level.

District Judge Kathryn Meek refused a prosecution request to place him on a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, saying it was disproportionate to his crime.

At his first court appearance in January, he was made subject for five years to the sex offenders’ register, and must pay £85 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

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