Paedophile found with 11k indecent images spared jail to care for mother

Lance Bickerton, 60 admitted three counts of making indecent images across Categories A to C, and possessing indecent images, prohibited computer-generated images, and “extreme pornography”, namely bestiality. Bickerton of Blundell Road, Widnes, Liverpool possessed more than 11,000 indecent images of children images, The Liverpool Echo reports.

Paul Blasbery, prosecuting told the court an “extremely large” stash of photos comprised 327 images of the worst type in Category A including 75 videos, 359 in Category B including 35 videos, and 10,738 at Category C including 46 videos which showed girls as young as six years old.

The photos were discovered by police who executed a warrant at Bickerton’s home address on December 21 last year.

Police seized his hard drives and computer towers and arrested him.

The court heard that the youngest abuse victim in the Category A material was a girl believed to be three months old, while at Category B, the youngest was a girl aged three years.

On the hard drives Bickerton also had 1,325 “extreme pornographic images showing adult females with dogs and horses” and 53 prohibited computer-generated images of children.

The collection of Category A to C images totaled 11,424 over a 13 years period.

Mr Blasbery described how the former council worker admitted “he was attracted to older teens” but “wasn’t attracted to children in real life” before entering his guilty pleas.

At Liverpool Crown Court Carmel Wilde, mitigating said Bickerton is of “previous good character” with no previous convictions and “feels rightly ashamed and embarrassed”

He also cares for his mother, who suffers from dementia.

Ms Wilde said he has become “isolated” and was an avid “hoarder” with collections including stamps, model cars, and Manchester United memorabilia”.

Upon sentencing, Bickerton Judge Mark Ainsworth said the numbers were “incredible” and “abhorrent”.

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Judge Ainsworth sentenced Bickerton to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and made him subject to the sex offenders register, and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for 10 years.

He must also complete a 60-day rehabilitation activity requirement and is subject to a curfew from 8pm to 6am at his home.

The judge explained that the suspended sentence was due to Bickerton’s need to care for his mother.

He told the court: “I’ve already acknowledged the public view of this sort of conduct and there will be many people who say I should send you to prison today.

“I have to accept and I do accept that in this case there’s a good prospect of rehabilitation, and I’ve read with care the documents that relate to your mother and the position she’s in and the impact on her, should you not be able to assist as you have been doing for a significant period of time, and these facts together mean that I should suspend it for 18 months.”

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