Woman avoids jail for possessing 600 indecent images of children and animals
A woman has avoided a jail sentence for possessing more than 600 indecent images - of babies and children and pornographic images of animals - when she was aged just 17.
Amy Hickson, now 20, of Greys Farm Close, Cheriton, Alresford, Hampshire, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to 13 offences which involved many of the images being stored as a Powerpoint presentation.
She had also made Google and Youtube searches for child abuse images, the court heard.
Hickson was sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours community service and attend a women's group.
She was also made subject of a sex offences prevention order for five years and ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years - and pay £750 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
Judge Susan Evans said: "There are babies in these images, two-year-olds, three-year-olds, four and five-year-olds. They are not all young children, but there are some very young children so it does make it very serious indeed."
She added: "Theses children are the victims and people do not know what happens to them. But I know for sure they suffer serious physical and emotional damage from what they suffer in these appalling pictures."
The offences are made up of eight charges of making indecent photos of a child, one charge of a pseudo image of a child and two counts of possessing prohibited images of children.
Hickson also pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing 16 "extreme, disgusting or obscene" pornographic images involving animals - including dogs, being abused and tortured.
Dawn Hyland, prosecuting, said that the indecent images of children included 219 of category A seriousness, 185 at category B and 199 at category C. The prohibited images included 523 cartoon images portraying child abuse, Ms Hyland said.
She explained that Hickson's computer was examined by the UK police in February 2013 after they were tipped off by the American authorities.
Andrew Turton, defending, said that Hickson, who is unemployed, was "naive and immature" for her age and that she had left her university course following the police investigation and now remains living at home with her parents.
He said: "It is unusual to have someone who is a child, who is a youth, being involved with this type of offending."
He also described how she had cut and paste some of the images and added text in a "childish" way - and the offences were committed using a computer which had been bought for her sixth form studies.
He added: "There is no suggestion that Amy Hickson is a danger to anybody - and certainly not a danger to animals, babies or children."