Desborough paedophile avoids jail after judge expresses regret over THREE YEAR criminal justice system delay

He was arrested in 2017

Monday, 21st June 2021, 10:01 am
Northampton Crown Court
Northampton Crown Court

A judge has told a paedophile that he would not be send him to jail after he faced a considerable delay for his case to come to court.

Richard Stretton, 63, appeared before Northampton Crown Court on Friday (June 18) to plead guilty to five charges related to indecent images of children.

The court heard how police had been received intelligence that Stretton had been sharing indecent images of children and on November 3, 2017, they visited his home address in Leys Avenue, Desborough and arrested him.

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They seized his computers and found images downloaded between May 2015 and the day before his arrest.

They found a hard drive containing indecent images of children and a number of shared files.

Officers discovered a Skype account set up in 2013 with details of chats about incest with a child who turned out to be a year nine pupil and another person with a date of birth of May 1998, making them a child at the time of the chats.

He was charged with four counts of making indecent images and videos of children and two counts of distributing images and videos of children.

Judge Mayo said that a case of that seriousness may usually attract a prison sentence.

He said: "I express my considerable concern that there was a three year delay between your arrest and you attending this court to be sentenced.

"It's completely unacceptable for everybody and as a result of the delay and what's happened to you and your family I see no reason to impose immediate custody.

"I hope you've learned from your behaviour and it seems that way from the pre-sentence report."

Stretton was given a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay £450 costs.

He was also given a seven-year sexual harm prevention order and ordered to complete a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.

Well-publicised cuts to the criminal justice system have resulted in delays to the court process, worsened by the pandemic which meant some trials could not go ahead because of social distancing. Many victims and defendants are having to wait well over a year for their case to come to court, by which time the clarity of their testimony may have faded with time.