Stafford Crown Court
A nursery worker was exposed as an internet paedophile and also came close to adopting a four-year-old boy, a court heard.
Bachelor Anthony Horne, from Hednesford, had been cleared for adoption by social services – until police carried out a raid at his home looking for child pornography.
Officers seized a laptop and desktop computer that was found to contain more than 750 indecent photos and movies of children, including 142 of the most vile category A.
When questioned, Horne put forward the excuse that he was trying to catch paedophiles.
At Stafford Crown Court on Friday, Mr Alexander Barnfield, prosecuting, said: “Investigation of the laptop and computer revealed no attempt to do anything of the sort.
“What the computers did reveal was use of chat rooms, access to channels of photographs and evidence of searching for images of children, mainly young boys with sexual contact with adults.”
The chat logs showed Horne had sexual fantasies about being blackmailed and he also fantasised about taking his ‘made-up son’ to a model photo shoot.
The ‘son’ did not exist at the time but the reality was that in 2012, Horne, who lived with his parents, had applied to social services to adopt a child. His initial application was refused, only because of a lack of financial independence.
“Once social services had met his parents, he was approved as an adopter and put forward in July 2013,” Mr Barnfield added. “A four-year-old boy was considered for placement with him.
“Social services say in a statement they had no suspicions. That’s now changed and he has been removed from any such register.”
Horne, aged 30, of St Andrews Close, Hednesford, who admitted six charges of making indecent images of children, was given a three-year community order to undergo a sex offender treatment programme. He was also given a six-month curfew and ordered to register as a sex offender for the next five years.
Judge Jonathan Gosling told him: “It is extremely alarming to discover you were working at a nursery and expressed an interest in adopting a child but I am not here to sentence you for any offence of trying to involve yourself in adoption.
“There is no suggestion you were interested in extremely young children at the nursery or fantasised about children of a young age.
“This is serious abuse of children. You and people like you create a demand for it and if there weren’t people like you there would be no demand.”
Mr Paul Hiatt, defending, said that Horne, a university graduate, had lost his job at the nursery as a result of the offences. He was of previous good character and suffered from anxiety and depression. His aim was to become a writer.