Derby paedophile Darren King, who stole photos of ex-girlfriend's dead child, is freed to 'get help he needs'
A PAEDOPHILE who stole treasured photographs of his ex-girlfriend's late daughter to add to his hoard of obscene images has been freed from jail by top judges – so he can "get the help he needs".
Darren King stole the photographs of the girl, taken when she was four and partially undressed, from his then partner's house and she alerted police after discovering them at his home.
A search of computers seized from his address revealed he had downloaded more than 4,267 indecent images of young girls aged between two and 15 – the vast majority of which were in the least serious category.
The 42-year-old, of Osmaston Road, Derby, was jailed for two years at Derby Crown Court in October last year, after admitting one count of possessing, and 27 of downloading, indecent images of children.
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But yesterday, judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court replaced his sentence with a three-year community order – combined with supervision and a treatment programme – saying it was the best way to ensure he did not reoffend.
Lord Justice Treacy said the snapshots of the girl – who had died the previous year, aged 14 – were "completely innocent" in the context of a family photo album but that he had taken them for his own gratification.
Sentencing King in October, Judge John Gosling said the way he had acquired the photographs of his girlfriend's daughter was "grotesque" and deserved a stiffer punishment that the maximum recommended by sentencing guidelines.
Yesterday, his lawyers argued his jail term was over the top. After hearing that King was "motivated" to complete a sex offenders' treatment programme but would not be behind bars long enough to do so, Lord Justice Treacy agreed the community punishment was the best course of action.
Allowing the appeal, he said: "Whilst an immediate term of custody was entirely justified in this case because of the large-scale downloading of images, there would have been insufficient time for him to go on an internet sex offenders' treatment programme while in prison.
"The community will now best be protected by an order which enables some constructive work to be done with him. It is the course most likely to prevent a repetition of his offending."
King will now be subject to strict supervision by the probation service for the whole three years of his community order and will take part in the treatment programme as ordered by the court.
A 10-year sexual offences prevention order remains in place and King will have to sign on the sex offenders' register.