Wealthy worker who distributed indecent pictures of children avoids immediate jail term

A man who shared sickening images of children with others has been given a suspended jail term and fine.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:30 pm

Richard McFarlane, 40, of Brooke Street, Chorley, appeared before Preston's Sessions House Court, where he admitted two counts of distributing indecent images, three of making them, and possessing an extreme sexual image involving an animal.

In one case the child was only thought to be two.

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Sessions House

A probe found McFarlane had then shared 118 images via WhatsApp and 56 others via the Telegram application.

Defending, Kimberley Obrusik asked the judge to "take a chance" on him, pointing out it was his first offence, and that he had made a contribution to society all his life, holding down a £3,000 a month job - which is still open to him despite his convictions.

She added: " He immediately contacted Safer Lives following his arrest and prior to lockdown had already had his first session, and some via Zoom, where he discussed the background of the offending and the reasons for it."

She added he had found himself isolated in a new town away from friends and family, other than associations over the internet, but had now joined a cycle club in Manchester.

Judge Simon Medland QC imposed two years in jail, suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity requirement, £5,000 fine and £500 costs.

He said: " The facts for the case need not now be rehearsed but suffice to say over a period of several years you were looking at, and no doubt deriving sexual gratification from, a large number of disgusting pornographic images.

"These involved boys who, as you have said to the probation officer, you knew were too young.

"Compounding this you then distributed some of those images, thus fostering a culture in which children are used for sexual purposes in photographic terms.

"You are a highly educated and industrious person who earns a great deal of money and this must be an appalling episode for you and your family, but you are entirely the author of your own misfortune.

"For a man of your background to be standing in the dock right in the crosshairs of a custodial sentence is a terrible position to be in."

McFarlane was ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for 10 years and received a sexual harm prevention order for the same length restricting his computer activities except for work related activities.

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