Former St Albans toy shop owner sentenced over child porn images

PUBLISHED: 15:01 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:01 17 July 2014

Andrew Mott leaves St Albans Magistrates court

Andrew Mott leaves St Albans Magistrates court

Archant

A former retailer who co-owned a toy store which folded in St Albans several years ago has blamed an alcohol problem and being in a "dark place" for leading him to keep over 1,000 indecent images of children.

Andrew Mott, 37, of Horsell, Surrey, was sentenced in St Albans Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to four counts of distributing, eight counts of making and two counts of possessing indecent photographs of children.

Mott was the co-owner of award-winning Little Wonders toy shop, which moved from The Maltings shopping centre to Holywell Hill in 2010 but ceased trading after going into liquidation in 2011.

Prosecutor Alan Richards told the court that on June 27 last year a search warrant was executed at Hunt Close, St Albans, after the police received information.

Upon opening the door, Mott was cautioned by the police and asked if he had any indecent images.

Later, while in custody, Mott told the police of a number of email addresses and file sharing accounts and gave a “frank admission” about historical use of such images.

Mr Richards said that Mott, “had searched for indecent images of children, the youngest of whom was nine years old”.

Following an investigation, a schedule of the images revealed a total of over 1,000 pictures including the most serious Category A and B images.

The court was told that Mott had five different storage devices – one of which had 879 images.

The police had also seized 84 moving images, 43 of which were in Category A.

Jean-Jack Chalmers, defending, alluded to references being written for the court in support of Mott by family members.

Mr Chalmers said that Mott was “deeply, deeply ashamed”.

“He is truly sorry for his action. He accepts the offences are very serious. He knows he will be punished and says it is deserved.

“He is intent upon dealing with the issues which have led to this behaviour.”

Mott had paid to attend courses provided by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity.

Mr Chalmers said Mott had turned to alcohol after suffering depression and anxiety after being declared bankrupt and separating from his partner.

However Mott has a “good relationship with his daughter”.

After being declared bankrupt Mott managed to find another job, but later lost his role while “still drinking heavily and suffering anxiety”.

He had recently retrained as a labourer in floor fitting and carpentry.

Mr Chalmers said that Mott had been in a “dark place” and had pleaded guilty “at the earliest opportunity”.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Baker gave Mott a three-year community order, with a supervision requirement. He must also attend a sex offender’s treatment programme.

Judge Baker said that given Mott’s “signs of alcohol dependency” he was also ordering him to attend six sessions of an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Mott has automatically been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

Details of a sexual offences prevention order are still being determined.

Mott was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and £425 court costs.

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