A would-be journalist from Milton Keynes who claimed he wanted to write an article on the dangers of child porn was jailed today after he admitted downloading 8,000 sick images.
Gabriel May was arrested after he took his computer to be fixed and a technician discovered pictures of animals and babies in vile sex acts organised into folders.
The former journalism student told police he had first searched for child porn to research “the big story” on how easy it is to find online and raise awareness.
The court heard he became addicted and downloaded thousands of pictures, never writing more than two paragraphs of his story.
Jailing him for two years today, Judge Francis Sheridan said it was the worst collection of abuse pictures he had ever seen.
Aylesbury Crown Court heard that May, aged 29, had asked his father Edward to take his computer to Counter-Act Systems IT services in Milton Keynes for repair.
It was examined by a technician who clicked on a non-password protected desktop folder which revealed images of a naked girl aged around eight years.
May was arrested in May 2012 and police found a total of 7,262 child abuse images, with 70 at the most severe level five and 1,297 at level four.
“While he was on bail he had another computer that was later seized. He was downloading further images whilst on bail,” said Nilam Sahl, prosecuting.
A further 837 images were found to have been downloaded by May, of Mitchell Place, Bradwell Common, since his arrest in October 2010.
“He admitted to being addicted pornography and said he downloaded all types and looked at it most days of the week,” said Miss Sahl, who added that only May accessed that computer.
“He came across child abuse images one day by accident and decided to see how easy it would be to find more.
“He said he normally writes gaming reviews and said he would then write an article about how easy it is to download child abuse images and raise awareness.
“He began to find more images and curiosity got the better of him. He said he never wrote more than two paragraphs of the article and never saved it anywhere.”
In mitigation, Laban Leake said May, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, had batchelors and masters degrees in journalism from Lincoln University.
“He had a grand idea of writing the big story, he wanted to make a mark as a journalist,” he said.
“It seems he became addicted to pornography in all its forms.”
The court heard May suffered from psychosis and depression and needed rehabilitation to “break the cycle”.
Mr Leake said: “There was no attempt to conceal the images and they were readily available.
“They weren’t disseminated and were for his personal use only.
“He will have face both his parents, they had to cope with his illnesses but now also this addiction and the fact that their boy is on the sex offenders register.”
Judge Francis Sheridan, in sentencing, said: “These images are truly, truly terrible - probably the worst in terms of baby abuse that it has ever been my misfortune to have to view.
“They were organised, there were folders and sub-folders as you developed a deeper and deeper obsession with this sort of filth.”
He said he took May’s early guilty plea, as well as his high intelligence level, into account.
“You were hoping to write the big story. Rather than that you have become the big story, tragically for those children,” said Judge Sheridan.
Bespectacled May, who wore a black suit and black and white striped shirt, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for ten years.
He was banned from working or having contact with children and had his use of the internet strictly limited by a sexual offences prevention order.
The Thames Valley Police officer investigating the offences, Det Con Wendy Fellowes said: “This has been a difficult investigation due to the nature and breadth of the imagery recovered from five electronic devices on two occasions from Gabriel May’s home.
“Police were alerted to the indecent images of children initially after his computer was taken for repair. What was found on the computer were seriously shocking images of child abuse from babies right through to young teenage girls and boys being abused. My hope is that by this sentence further children are protected from this abuse.”