Newport man ‘has no memory of downloading child abuse movies’

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A MAN claimed he did not recall uploading nearly 200 child abuse videos and photos, and told police he suffered blackouts after mixing drugs and l ‘alcohol.

Alan Howarth’s Newport home was raided in the summer of 2019 after officers received a tip-off, Cardiff Crown Court has heard.

They found 14 category A images – the most serious – five category B and 179 category C on his computer.

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Eugene Egan, prosecuting, said Howarth’s case was “unusual” because all the footage was uploaded over a two-and-a-half-hour period during the early morning hours.

He added: ‘When the defendant was questioned, he told the officers, ‘I am suffering from memory loss from taking a combination of drugs and alcohol’ and he added that he occasionally woke up with no memory of the previous night. ”

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Howarth initially denied possessing indecent images of children but pleaded guilty on the day of his trial.

He had previous convictions for drunk driving from 2020.

Joshua Scouller, representing Howarth, 51, told the court: “It took a heavy toll on him.”

His lawyer said the matter had been hanging over his client’s head for more than three years and how the defendant’s wife left him.

The defendant had also spent time during this period in a mental institution.

Mr Scouller added how Howarth was ‘physically ill outside the police station’ after being arrested.

He was, according to his lawyer, a man likely to be rehabilitated.

Judge Jeremy Jenkins told the defendant: “You and others like you need to realize that this is not a victimless crime.

“Each of these images show a child being abused in the most cruel and violent way and it is because people like you are uploading such images and therefore maintaining demand for this material that these images are continually being created and unfortunately placed in places like the Internet.

“That being said, I’m absolutely convinced that you are remorseful, even ashamed of what you have done – you should be.”

Howarth, formerly of Newport, now of Bath Road, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, was sentenced to a two-year community order.

He must complete 120 hours of unpaid work and fulfill a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The accused must register as a sex offender for five years and was subject to a sexual abuse prevention order for the same period.

Howarth will also have to pay £500 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge.

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