22 Dec ‘Dangerous Paedophile’ From Ash Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison
A “dangerous paedophile” from Ash has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for raping a child and distributing indecent images of young girls. Thomas Poole, 31, of Chester Road, admitted on November 5 a string of depraved offences after an undercover police officer discovered him using an online chatroom to share the images. These included raping a child under the age of 13, sexual assault, and taking and distributing indecent images of children. His offending took place between January and August this year.
During his sentencing hearing on Monday (December 21), Guildford Crown Court heard how Poole had graphically discussed the sexual abuse with other chatroom members. Prosecuting, Wendy Cottee said the crimes amounted to “systematic and calculated sexual abuse” after thousands of indecent images of girls between the ages of four to ten were found. “More disturbingly, a significant number are of babies and these include some of moving images,” said Miss Cottee.
The court heard Poole had previously been convicted for 15 counts of possessing indecent images of children in October 2008, for which he received a 32-week suspended prison sentence. He had also attended a programme for sexual offenders.
Miss Cottee said Poole filmed himself raping a child and shared it online with others who were similarly “depraved”, which including explaining how he covered his tracks in order to not be caught. When he was arrested in August 2015, chat logs on his computer revealed his more serious offending. “That was the chat log in which police found images of a child being tied up with neck ties,” Miss Cottee told the court. “It had been shared online with other people.”
The court heard how 111 other people had seen the image and there had been 421 instances of other images being distributed. When asked how he felt about the rape by a chatroom user, Poole said he “didn’t feel anything” but referred to the child being distressed and crying. “Clearly there appears to be absolutely no concern for the distress she was showing,” Miss Cottee said.
In custody, Poole wrote to his wife and mother apologizing for his crimes and stating he had problems with alcohol and debt. He told his family the acts “made him sick and he never enjoyed it”. Defending Poole, Rina-Marie Hill said there was “not a lot” of mitigation she could put forward apart from an early guilty plea from the defendant. “He accepts what he has done,” Miss Hill said. She added that he may be assisting police in apprehending other offenders.
Sentencing Poole, Judge Christopher Critchlow said the crimes had been “depraved”. “You took images, hundreds of photographs and over 109 moving images of other girls were found in your possession,” said the judge. “You distributed the indecent photographs of what you were doing.” The judge said 79 moving images involving different children had been found and Poole was “a danger” to society.
Poole was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment and a further eight years on extended licence for one count of rape, one count of oral rape, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of distributing indecent images, four counts of taking indecent images and four counts of making indecent images. Detective Constable Rebecca Kilpatrick of Surrey Police’s safeguarding investigation unit said: “The sentence today reflects the severity, enormity and seriousness of the offences committed by this dangerous paedophile. “He used his position of trust in the most deplorable manner and his actions have caused immeasurable harm to his victims and those close to them.” A life-long sexual harm prevention order was also issued.