A former Eton College student has been spared jail despite making and distributing graphic images of child abuse.
Andrew Picard, 18, was found to have more than 2,000 pornographic images of children, some as young as 2-years-old being raped and forced to have sex with dogs
The images were found on his computer at the prestigious Eton boarding school after Picard shared the material in an online chat room with an undercover police officer.
On Thursday Picard was spared jailed and given a 10 month sentence, suspended for 18 months and with a mental health treatment requirement. Judge Peter Ross said prison would “undo” the extensive counseling Picard has undergone since his arrest.
Many have questioned whether Piccard, the son of a lawyer, would have received such a light sentence if he had not come from a privileged background.
The Daily Mail reports:
The 18-year-old son of a top lawyer sat in his college dormitory sharing the pictures in chat rooms and was 17 when he was caught sharing material with an undercover police officer.
Picard, who was arrested at Eton after his IP address was traced there, admitted ten counts of child pornography – and at Oxford Crown Court was today handed a ten-month prison term, suspended for 18 months.
He was let off jail after being credited for his work with doctors in the past year to address his offending – but this was said to be a perk of his privileged position.
The offences dated from January to February last year when Picard made indecent images of youngsters and shared them via chat messages on Skype.
Thousands of images and clips were found on Picard’s computer and hard drive that showed acts so appalling that Judge Peter Ross could not bring himself to describe them.
Others showed children as young as two being raped and forced to have sex with dogs.
Cathy Olliver, prosecuting, said the undercover officer had entered a ‘teen’ chatroom, for those aged between 13 and 19 years, on February 9, 2015, when he was contacted by a user called ‘AP16MUK’ – standing for Andrew Picard, aged 16, male, from the UK.
Picard messaged the undercover officer asking: ‘Do you want to see pics of boys and girls your age, nude?’
Boasting of having hundreds of videos, Picard added the officer on Skype and shared indecent images of a boy aged ten and girls aged eight and 14 years.
Asking the undercover officer for proof he was aged 14 years as he said and not some ‘old’ man, Picard later shared a video of his own face.
‘His IP address led police to Eton school in Berkshire where staff were able to identify him as a pupil,’ Ms Olliver said. ‘He was arrested from school on suspicion of distributing indecent photographs of children.’
Picard admitted one count of possessing indecent pictures of children, one count of making indecent pictures of children and eight counts of distributing indecent photos or recordings of a child.
Detectives found 1,185 indecent images and videos on his computer and on hard-drives seized from his school dormitory.
They also discovered chat logs from the chatrooms where Picard boasted about the ‘quality’ of his videos and asked users who claimed to be as young as 14 to exchange naked shots of themselves for indecent videos he would provide.
Ms Olliver said it was a feature of Picard’s offending that he would send images in return for the user to strip, showing him their ‘underarm or groin’.
She added: ‘There are aggravating features, the children are very young, in obvious pain and distress, and the number of photographs distributed.’
Dressed in jeans, trainers and a navy jumper, brown-haired Picard squeezed his eyes shut as Judge Peter Ross described some of the vile Category A material found in his possession.
One of his videos showed a girl as young as three being raped, while others showed young children being forced to have sex with dogs.
Sallie Bennett-Jenkins, QC referred to her client’s remorse and pointed to the good work he had been doing with doctors in the past year, undergoing constant treatment with numerous doctors and psychiatrists.
‘This is a young and very able man who has hopes for the future,’ she added. ‘He was able to have this opportunity [to seek help] and this was something Andrew sought for himself, by himself.’
Sparing Picard jail, Judge Ross said a term of custody would undo the good work he had done in the past year undergoing extensive counselling.