Predatory paedophile conditionally discharged for abuse images on laptop
A predatory paedophile who was caught with extreme pornography on his computer while on parole from prison has been conditionally discharged.
Simon Burrows, 51, was jailed indefinitely in 2008 for a catalogue of sex crimes against young children at a Steeple Ashton nursery he set up with his wife.
But a year after his 2011 release he was found to have two vile images stored on his computer when a probation officer examined the machine.
Burrows had been due to stand trial accused of possessing indecent images of children, but that case was dropped.
Burrows insisted he never put them there and said they could not have been deleted by the police when they had the machine, a claim which prosecutors do not accept.
Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court yesterday the records from 2007, which show what had been handed back, had been destroyed.
"We are not in a position to say whether in fact anything was handed back to him, and contained illicit material, and was not supposed to," she said.
Miss Marlow asked for the hard drive of the machine to be destroyed to avoid the same issue arising again.
And after Derek Perry, defending, asked for it to be returned Judge Field said he could have it if probation agreed and the police had properly cleaned it.
The court heard that following his release from prison Burrows was handed his old laptop back.
When a device fitted to monitor his use of the machine did not work properly it was looked at by his offender manager, who found the illicit material.
He was returned to prison in September 2012 for breaching the conditions of his parole as he had been contacting a woman online and exchanging pictures with her.
Mr Perry said his client would now have to seek release again. He said it was always their case that the police had not properly cleaned the images from the computer.
In May 2008, Judge Douglas Field jailed him indefinitely for public protection with a four-year tariff, or minimum term before which he could apply for parole, but that was reduced to three by appeal court judges.
Burrows had admitted 36 charges of sexual offences against children, including touching, taking pictures and videos and voyeurism.
He abused some of the 12 young victims, boys and girls aged between two and nine years old, at the nursery and others when he was giving them lifts in his car.
Police found he had set up a camera to film teenage foreign exchange students staying with them as they went to the toilet.
And on his computer he had 3,626 indecent images and 180 videos of children, many of which were in the most serious categories.
A forensic expert who examined the machines and storage media described the horde as some of the worst images he had seen in his ten years in the job.