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Mark Pidgley jailed at Bournemouth Crown Court for two years for taking secret images of young girl

A CHRISTCHURCH man who took hundreds of clandestine images of a young girl has been jailed for two years.

Mark Pidgley (46), of Portfield Close, shared 46 of the images he took with other users on the Kik mobile phone app and made comments about the victim, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

In one message the former fence company worker said he had "not f***ed" her "yet", prosecutor Stuart Ellacott said.

Mark Pidgley was jailed at Bournemouth Crown Court (47849583)
Mark Pidgley was jailed at Bournemouth Crown Court (47849583)

Police became aware of the sharing of other generic abuse images and investigated, Mr Ellacott said, leading them to Pidgley - who initially claimed he had shared such images to "trap" other people on the internet who might have an unhealthy interest in children.

However, officers eventually uncovered the 316 images he had taken of the young victim - who cannot be named for legal reasons.

In a second police interview Pidgley came clean about his offending.

At court the defendant admitted 10 charges; four related to the girl while the other six related to generic abuse images he shared or distributed via the Kik app. The generic images featured children as young as one, Mr Ellacott added.

Defending Pidgley, Tom Hoarder stressed his client had led an unblemished life before these offences were uncovered.

Pidgley had been well regarded and others were "shocked and surprised" by the offending, while his client was "remorseful". Mr Hoarder added: "He knows he has not just let down the victim but everyone who he knows and loves."

The defendant had voluntarily taken steps to address his offending, completing virtual sessions with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and the Steps to Wellbeing programme. He had also been assessed as a medium risk by probation.

"I don’t think he is likely to come before the court again," added Mr Hoarder.

However, Judge Brian Forster rebuffed suggestions by Mr Hoarder that a suspended sentence or community term accompanied by rehabilitation could be considered.

"Unfortunately I cannot do so because the facts of this case are shocking and serious," he said.

As well as the jail term, he gave Pidgley a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, banned him from contacting the victim indefinitely and ordered the related devices be destroyed.

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