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Child sex abuse sites bookmarked as favourites

A New Plymouth man was sentenced today to two years nine months in prison for possessing and distributing online pictures of children being sexually exploited and abused.

Paul Bettridge, 42, pleaded guilty to 30 charges of possessing objectionable images and two charges of distributing objectionable images.

The Department of Internal Affairs Manager of Community Safety, Steve O’Brien has welcomed the custodial sentence. “Bettridge is a significant offender and a period of imprisonment will ensure that he is unable to access or trade images of child sexual abuse.

“Images of child sexual abuse are the result of real children being sexually abused and exploited. Those who distribute these images need to bear a direct responsibility for the original abuse, as well as being responsible for encouraging more pictures being produced and more abuse of victims.”

More than 500 objectionable images and 24 objectionable movies of both adults and children were found on Bettridge’s computers. The majority of the children were aged between seven and 14, but also included some images of toddlers. Some of the pictures were of children in explicit sexual acts with men.

Internal Affairs staff found child sex abuse sites bookmarked as favourites on his computer.

The Department of Internal Affairs’ investigation revealed he had been downloading objectionable images since 2008.

“This is a degrading and ugly offence. It dehumanises innocent children,” says Mr O’Brien.

“Each time anyone anywhere in the world accesses one of these images, the child depicted is re-victimised by the further dissemination of the illegal material.”

Bettridge was sentenced by Judge Roberts at the New Plymouth District Court.

ENDS

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