Shropshire’s most senior judge has commended a family after they went to police following the discovery of 43 indecent images of children on a former naval serviceman’s computer and hard drive.
Justin Hayward, from Heathfield Close, Shrewsbury, was arrested in August 2013 after his brother found the images on the hard drive after asking to borrow it.
This May, the 24-year-old admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and two of possessing them.
Hayward was given a three-year community order and told to attend a community sex offender’s programme.
He will also be the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for five years and must pay £370 costs. The forfeiture and destruction of the laptop and hard drive was also ordered.
Yesterday, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that at the time of the incident Hayward was living at home with his parents while on long-term sick leave from the Royal Navy.
Mr Timothy Harrington, prosecuting, said Hayward’s parents contacted the Royal Navy Police when they heard about the images and he was arrested by West Mercia Police.
He said Hayward’s brother asked to borrow his hard drive.
“On opening the hard drive, he found a folder named private and opened it. In the folder he saw a clip showing indecent images of children," said Mr Harrington.
“He quickly closed the file and clicked on another to see if it was of the same nature – it was.
“As it was the defendant’s birthday his brother decided to tell his parents two days later.
“His parents were alarmed to hear the news and contacted the Royal Navy Police.”
Mr Brendan Reedy, for Hayward, said he was of previous good character and had a troubled childhood. Mr Reedy said: “He has physiological issues and was on long-term sick leave from the Navy prior to this incident. This is a young man with a future ahead of him. He is in a new relationship and wants to move on.”
Judge Robin Onions, sentencing, said: “The family should be commended on their actions. They acted entirely properly. It must have been something which made them very anxious.”Subscribe to our Newsletter