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Paedophile with 1m images walks free

Date: February 09, 2005
Source: Daily Mail

A paedophile who amassed the biggest collection of internet child pornography ever found in Britain walked free from court yesterday.

To the despair of the judge, John Harrison was released despite admitting downloading at least a million obscene images.

It would have taken at least 25 years for one police officer to examine all the pictures found on computers belonging to the 55-year-old divorcee who had two foster children.

But because he committed his crimes before tougher penalties were introduced, and as a result of the early release rules for prisoners, Harrison was a free man hours after being sentenced.

Judge John Burke QC told him the longest sentence he could impose for the 'filth' he downloaded was three years.

But he added: "The maximum sentence now is ten years, a sentence which I would dearly like to pass in this case. If I were able to, I would impose one approaching that figure.

"It's because people like you derive twisted gratification from these disgusting images that children, even babes in arms, are treated as slaves and routinely defiled sexually by their depraved keepers."

As a result of his guilty plea, Harrison, a self- employed computer consultant, was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

But because he is automatically released halfway through the sentence, and as the 15 months he spent on remand was taken into account, he was free the same afternoon...

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