A BARMAN from Swallowfield who downloaded and shared a shocking video of a father raping his own seven-year-old daughter was jailed for more than two years (Tuesday, February 4).

A judge heard how the unknown girl in the image had since been identified and rescued by police.

Her father had been raping her and sharing images of the abuse online, the judge was told.

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One of the people consuming the images was Edward Straughan, who lived in a caravan behind the public house where he worked in Church Street, Swallowfield, prosecutors said.

The court heard how the 34-year-old had downloaded other, similar videos.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sank said: "Police received information about indecent images of children being shared via a peer-to-peer network on July 4 and 5 in 2018 and they had information that that was linked to a particular IP address connected to the defendant's address.

"They went to an address on January 10, having at that stage obtained a warrant and seized a number of items which were interrogated."

On the defendant's iPhone and computer, the prosecutor said, police found 820 category A images, 369 category-B images and 16,000 category-C images, some of which had been deleted.

It was also discovered that the software which Straughan used to download the images was also automatically sharing the images online to other users.

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Mr Sank said: "This particular victim is somebody who has, subsequent to the making of the video, been identified by law enforcement as someone who had been sexually abused by her father over a number of years.

"He uploaded samples to the internet.

"The defendant had on his computer a peer-to-peer network.

"If this software is used for criminal purposes there is an inevitability that such images will be shared."

Straughan, the court heard, had admitted his offences to the police and had admitted three counts of distributing indecent images of children, three counts of possessing indecent images of children, when he appeared before a Crown Court judge.

He also admitted one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image of bestiality and one count of possessing prohibited images.

A pre-sentence report given to Judge Paul Dugdale in Reading Crown Court said Straughan had claimed he was not using the images for his own sexual gratification.

Judge Dugdale said: “I am struggling a bit with him saying he was not sexually aroused by these images.”

Defending, Martin Hawkes told how Straughan only had one previous conviction from 2007 on an unrelated matter and had been neglected as a child.

Mr Hawkes said: “For some time he has lived in a caravan which is within the grounds of the pub where he works. He has been living there since his long-term relationship ended.

“He was isolated wholly from his family, living at the pub.

"He was living, more or less, in a bubble, going from the pub to the caravan where he lived and that is what his whole social world revolved around.

"One can easily say he should have known a lot better but he did not.

"How would he cope in prison? Not very well, because of his social isolation he does not make friends very easily.

"He needs to step into the bigger world as soon as he can."

The defending lawyer asked Judge Dugdale to suspend the sentence of imprisonment which he was going to pass.

Judge Dugdale, ordering Straughan to stand up, told him: “You knew that by using that software on your computer you were facilitating the distribution of images to other people.

“Through that software from your computer, by your actions, 79 category-A indecent images of children were distributed.

“The vast majority of the category-A images going out of your computer and coming in, involved girls between the ages of three and 12 years.

“Anybody who distributes material like that goes straight to prison - no ifs, no buts.”

Judge Dugdale sentenced Straughan to 28 months in prison, telling him he would serve half of that in custody and the rest on licence in the community.

Straughan was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which would last for 10 years.

Before leaving court, Judge Dugdale told the prosecution: “I would be very grateful if someone could pass on my thanks to whichever officer viewed the images.

“I am conscious from times gone past that when you look at these images, they stay with you for an awfully long time and I know it is a very difficult, emotional and upsetting task for the police to have to carry it out.”

A spokesman for The Crown public house said: “We are in complete shock.

"We had not heard anything about this until today.

"He worked here for us for nearly four years in the bar. Of course, he does not work here anymore."