Three year delay for Kettering man who downloaded 400 indecent images of children to face court
The court heard Nothamptonshire Police's paedophile investigation team is facing "a severe backlog" in cases
An ongoing "massive backlog" for Northamptonshire's paedophile investigation unit meant a Kettering man was only seen in court yesterday more than three years after his arrest.
Paul Knight was arrested from his former home in Geddington, Kettering, following an investigation by police.
Across the 55-year-old's devices, officers found 395 indecent images of children, including 66 classed as "category A" - the most serious rating available.
However, Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (June 7) how Knight was arrested in December 2017 - meaning it had taken three and half years for the offending to be dealt with in court.
Prosecutor Mr Andrew Peet told the judge that the severe delay was in part because Northamptonshire Police is facing "a massive backlog" in terms of electronic devices that need examining.
It comes after an inspection of the force in April this year noted its Paedophile Online Investigation team (POLIT) was facing a 70 per cent increase in demand over the 12 months since the start the Covid-19 pandemic, on top of waiting cases.
In fact, the report said officers were reportedly handling an average workload of 31 cases - the highest of any investigative team in the force.
Northamptonshire Police has been contacted for a comment.
Knight, now of Hitchin Street, Biggleswade, was also sentenced in 2005 for possessing indecent images of children, where he was handed a fine.
The images he was caught with in 2017 were reportedly included downloads dated from 2007.
A report from the probation service stated that while Knight showed "remorse" for his offending, he continues to deny that he has a sexual attraction to children.
His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo told him in sentencing: "Just in case you're not aware Mr Knight, nobody treats the images in these cases as victimless crimes.
"The children in those images are substantially abused, and they bear the scars throughout their later lives."
Knight was handed a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was committed to complete 50 days of the "Horizons" paedophile reform and rehabilitation programme.