COURT: Ex-housing officer from Starbeck downloaded child porn

Officers searched Prabhu's home in Starbeck and seized computer equipment for analysis.
Officers searched Prabhu's home in Starbeck and seized computer equipment for analysis.

A former housing officer has been ordered to sign on the sex-offenders’ register after a cache of indecent child-porn images were found on his laptop.

Sean Prabhu, 48, was caught out by West Yorkshire Police’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Unit (CEOP).

Officers searched his home in Harrogate and seized computer equipment for analysis.

Forensic experts found 11 video files and four photos featuring indecent shots of young girls, mainly between the ages of 10 and 12. The youngest child featured was between three and five years of age.

The files included 11 video clips, nine of which were rated Category A and featured the worst kind of sexual abuse, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecuting barrister Stephanie Hancock said although relatively few indecent files were found on the laptop, police discovered that Prabhu had used special cleaning software to delete other files which could not be accessed by officers.

Experts trawled through his internet search history and found key search terms relating to child porn. These revealed over 10,000 ‘hits’ for particular search words.

Mrs Hancock said this indicated that Prabhu - a father-of-two who worked as a care support officer for dementia sufferers before becoming a housing officer - had viewed many more files which had been deleted.

Prabhu, of High Street, Starbeck, used a “peer-to-peer” file-sharing site to view the images on a web page where music could also be downloaded.

He was arrested following the police search on May 4 last year.

He appeared for sentence on Thursday after admitting six counts of making indecent images.

Mrs Hancock said Prabhu, who has no previous convictions, felt he had an addiction to child pornography and had sought help through a charity which helps rehabilitate offenders.

Defence barrister Mark McKone said the offences happened at a time when Prabhu’s marriage was breaking down.

“He said he was addicted to adult porn, which developed into this offending,” added Mr Mckone.

“He lost a responsible job (as a result) and has seen a community mental-health team.”

Judge Guy Kearl QC told Prabhu: “You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. It’s quite plain that you were deliberately searching for these videos and images for quite some time before (your arrest).”

Prabhu was given a 36-month community order with a 30-day rehabilitation programme and sex-offender treatment course.

Mr Kearl also imposed a five-year sexual-harm prevention order which will limit Prabhu’s internet activities and allow police to keep a check on his computer

use.

In addition, Prabhu was made to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for five years.

Mr Kearl warned him that it was his “last chance” and that if he reoffended he would go straight to prison.