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Whitehaven man failed in bid to drown device containing 10,000 illegal child images

Carlisle Crown Court

A WHITEHAVEN man who failed in a desperate bid to destroy a tablet containing more than 10,000 illegal images of children after police knocked at his door has been sentenced by a judge.

Liam Rothery, 32, failed to answer his door when officers came calling at 7-10am on November 7. They left and returned almost an hour later, when he let them in.

They discovered that, in the intervening period, Rothery, of Ceda Park, had conducted a factory reset of an iPad which could not be accessed, and dunked a Samsung tablet in a dish of water. “He admitted it was to destroy evidence,” prosecutor Sarah Griffin told Carlisle Crown Court today (FRI).

But police were able to salvage crucial evidence from the Samsung device. They discovered Rothery had, over the course of 16 days, downloaded seven category B images of girls aged just eight, and 10,000 category C photographs showing females aged as young as just six or seven. His internet search history showed a “clear interest young girls”.

Rothery made full and frank admissions when questioned, and promptly admitted both making indecent photographs of children and doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. A man of previous good character, he was described in court as “intelligent” but had lost what was described as an “exceptionally good job” as a result of his criminal conduct.

After reading a detailed background report, Recorder Ciaran Rankin imposed a 36-month community order. Rothery must complete an accredited sex offender’s course, 150 hours’ unpaid work and a rehabilitation requirement. He must also sign the sex offender register for five years and observe the terms of a sexual harm prevention order.

Recorder Rankin told him: “This was a clear and quite deliberate attempt on your part to destroy evidence against yourself as to what it was you had been up to which, happily, had been only partly successful.”

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