THE FORMER Mayor of Malvern who pleaded guilty to downloading more than 1,000 indecent images of children has avoided jail.
Julian Roskams, 54, appeared before Worcester Crown Court today (Monday) where he was given a 16-month suspended sentence for 18 months and was ordered to pay £340 in court costs and a £140 victim surcharge.
He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will have to undertake 150 hours unpaid work.
The father-of-six, of Poolbrook Road, Malvern, was said by prosecutor Peter Grice to have downloaded 283 ‘category A’ images, the most serious, which included four movies.
Mr Grice also told the court Roskams, who had appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court in February, had downloaded 346 ‘category B’ images as well as 529 ‘category C’ images.
He added: “He saw it as an addiction and he believed the police intervention was the only way it would stop.”
All pictures had been stored on an iPhone, three computers and a hard drive and there had been evidence of Roskams talking in chat forums with ‘like-minded’ people talking about child abuse.
However, there was no evidence of him distributing photos, which would have been a more serious offence.
But Mark Kelly, defending, said the former district and town councillor had taken the appropriate measures to help sort out his issues prior to his arrest on August 31 last year.
He added: “The defendant recognises the images were abhorrent but before and after his arrest he had taken steps to recognise he had an issue.
“There had also been a breakdown of his marriage and there had been a lack of communication for a number of years which brought him to the internet.
“But he undertook counselling for himself and since the beginning of 2015 he has been going to meetings on a weekly basis.
“It is a tremendous fall from grace for a man who has held positions of high esteem.”
Between August 31, 2011 and July 23 last year, Roskams had downloaded the indecent images which featured children under the age of ten being sexually abused.
There had also been images of children under the age of five depicted in bondage scenes and being restrained.
Following his arrest, Roskams, who had his own publishing business, admitted in his police interview he had a ‘few issues’ and contacted the Lucy Faithfull Foundation – a charity which tries to prevent child abuse – for help.
He was expected to have a meeting with the group later this year.
And Judge Robert Juckes QC gave credit for Roskams for seeking the necessary help.
He added: “I have had more than 20 references which state the images were abhorrent but that you also sought help before the arrest.
“You were honest about committing the offences, something which most people would not do.
“The breakdown of your family also coincided with the start of the offending and it seems to me that points strongly in your favour.”
All devices storing the indecent images of children will also be destroyed.