Man caught with nearly 1,000 indecent images claimed he was on a ‘low ebb’

A man who downloaded almost one thousand pornographic images of children aged between two and 15 has avoided jail.

Marco Scalas, aged 49, was found to have the photographs on a laptop and computer between 2012 and 2016.

Of the 988 images found, 388 of them were described as category A images, said to be the worst type of indecent images, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Scalas appeared at Manchester Crown Court
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Scalas, from Stockport, was also found to have used the internet to search for the images.

At an earlier hearing he pleaded guilty to three offences of making indecent images, one offence of possession of an extreme pornographic image and one offence of possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Today he was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Simone Flynn told the court that a search warrant was executed at Scalas’s home on September 7 2018.

“Officers recovered two electrical devices, namely an ASA computer tower and ASA laptop,” Ms Flynn said.

“When analysed they found a number of prohibited images from category A to C, as well as an extreme pornographic image and four prohibited images.

“Of the 388 category A images, 192 were accessible, and none were moving images.

“There were 247 category B images, of which 104 were accessible, and of the 353 category C images, 154 were accessible.”

Following forensic analysis of the images, it was found that they were created in 2012, the court heard.

Ms Flynn added that the images depicted children between the ages of two-years-old and 15.

Scalas had also searched for indecent images on the internet, it was said.

He was said to have no previous convictions.

In mitigation, his defence lawyer Milena Bennett said: “The probation service said he would be best helped by one-on-one intervention.

“He confirmed he hasn’t committed any further offences and he has voluntarily desisted from before his arrest in 2018.

“He is extremely remorseful and ashamed and embarrassed about his actions.

“They were committed at a time when he was at a low ebb, that’s not an excuse, just an explanation of why a man with previous good character, who’s going to be 50, and has remained of a good character for a long time, finds himself before the court.

“He is an Italian national who has been in the country for a long time.

“At the time he was very stressed, he had no social life whatsoever and only had contacts with his parents in Italy once a week.

“He was feeling under extreme stress.

“It’s not an excuse, just a form of explanation as to why this man decided initially to see by a form of curiosity, what it was all about.”

Sentencing him to a suspended sentence, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “It’s important that you understand this is not a victimless crime – because the children in these images have been mercilessly exploited by others and the exploiters of those children are only encouraged by people like you who access that material, even if it’s only out of curiosity.

“It may have been curiosity to begin with, but curiosity got the better of you and you went back for more.”

Scalas, of London Road in Hazel Grove, was also ordered to complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years, banning him from possessing any images of children with the exception of family members.

As he left the dock, Judge Field QC told him: “I am sure you have no desire to appear in the criminal courts again.”

|Ma Evening Post