A pervert who took sick pictures of kids outside of school has been spared jail after a judge said his fetish for girls wearing tights was a “powerful factor in his life.”
Mark Stephenson, 52, collected more than 11,000 indecent images of children as young as five, which he then shared with other online pedophiles.
When police raided his home, officers found 11,567 despicable photos, including 113 of the most serious categories A and B — involving sexual activity — stored on seven devices.
Some of the photos turned out to have been taken by Stephenson of children as young as five in short skirts outside schools, on trains and in shops.
The father-of-three admitted to taking indecent images of children, distributing them and offending public mores.
Warwick Crown Court learned that Stephenson, who worked as an insurance broker, had led a ‘double life’ after becoming obsessed with girls in tights.
Mark Stephenson, 52, was given a two-year suspended sentence after admitting to taking indecent images of children, distributing them and violating public morals.
Stephenson, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, ordered to 200 hours of unpaid work and registered as a sex offender for ten years.
Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC, who convicted him yesterday, said his pantyhose fetish had been “a powerful factor in his life.”
He said: ‘You led a double life, because it is clear that on the one hand you have been a successful, hard-working breadwinner for your family.
“But there is one side of you that has been of great concern, and it has been reflected in your criminal behavior over an extended period of time.
“It was a sexual interest in young children, though in your own mind may have been blurred by an obsessive fetish with tights and young girls wearing tights.
“Your profession had the opportunity to be away from home for a considerable period of time, and many of your transgressions took place in the confines of hotel rooms.
“It would be easy to say ’24 months, take him down,’ but you would be released after half and under limited surveillance.”
Warwick Crown Court heard officers find 11,567 despicable photos, including 113 of the most serious categories A and B — involving sexual activity — stored on seven devices in a raid on the father of three’s home
The court heard that the police arrested him after a raid on his home in April 2018.
Grace Ong, the prosecutor, said messages he exchanged with other users on a social media site made it clear that he had also distributed Category C images until the day before his arrest.
She said: “The main feature of the groups is that they actively search for pictures of young girls in tights.”
On a hard drive he had images of girls, ages five to fourteen, showing their legs and clearly taken outside school gates, on trains and in shops.
Michael Duck QC, on defense, said: ‘His family life had been decimated and during that period he felt unable to work for a significant part of that period.
“He’s a man who before the crimes was a decent, hard-working family man who had worked in the insurance industry for most of the three decades.
“He was married to his high school sweetheart and they had three children, but there is no prospect of a new life in that marriage.
‘This is a man with a complex sexual background. These crimes were committed while he was in his alter ego.
“For several years he hid that part of his life from everyone.
“He worked long hours when he was in hotel rooms, which undoubtedly gave him the opportunity to do some of the activities on his computers.”