Ex-soldier spared jail sentence
AN armed forces veteran who downloaded more than 5,000 indecent images of children has been spared jail.
Shaun David Underhill, 43, served in the armed forces for 14 years and was caught by police with 5,881 indecent images of children including 453 in Category A, the most obscene.
Underhill, of Berry Street, Conwy was arrested on June 17 2013 following a report to police by his partner at the time, who originally thought Underhill was having an affair due to his secretive an suspicious nature.
North Wales Police searched his computers and found the cache of illegal content including 65 videos, 44 of them in Category A.
The veteran pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children at an earlier hearing at Caernarfon Crown Court.
Dafydd Roberts, defending, said Underhill had served his country with distinction for 14 years but had struggled to adjust to civilian life and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.
He said: “He has always shown full responsibility for his actions and since his arrest there has been no repetition of this behaviour.
“He himself was sexually abused as a child and that clearly has caused damage to him and damage to the way he thinks about children.
“That needs to be dealt with in a structured way.”
Sentencing Underhill to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, His Honour Judge Burr stressed for the defendant to understand the seriousness of downloading indecent images of children.
He said: “These photos represent the actual abuse of the children.
“They demonstrate the evil of the practice. You downloaded these for a particular reason.”
The Judge added: “It’s quite clear since the time of our arrest you have taken steps to ensure there is no further access to these images.”
Underhill will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years and will undergo an internet sex offenders treatment programme.