St Albans paedophile spared jail after making hundreds of indecent images of children in Hatfield

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

A St Albans paedophile who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children in Hatfield has been spared jail.

Andrew Pidgeon had 199 images classed as category A, 42 category B photographs and eight videos, as well as 744 category C pictures and three films stored on a laptop, USB stick, and separate tower computer.

Prosecuting, Maryam Syed said the majority of the material depicts real children under 12 years old.

When police came to search a property in Hatfield, where the offences took place, the 47-year-old immediately relented, saying “I know what this is about”.

He added: “I need help but I don’t know how to get it”, and continued, “it has been going on for a long time”.

Pidgeon, of Barncroft Way, had been using the dark web to swap images, and talk about his sexual fantasises, with other paedophiles.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children between March 4 and August 24, 2017, and was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on January 11.

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Judge Michael Kay QC handed the electrical design engineer 16 months for the category A images, eight months for the category B, and three months for the category C - all to run concurrently and suspended for two years.

Pidgeon must have rehabilitation, do 150 hours of unpaid work, and is subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

Judge Kay said: “I certainly will not go into the detail of what can be seen on these images, but some of them show images of very young children in the most terrible situations of sexual humiliation and abuse.

“It is very difficult to understand.

“I have dealt with hundreds of these cases now, but it is difficult to understand what possible motivation there could have been to watch these - I suppose the obvious.”

He stressed Pidgeon was complicit in the abuse because the “monsters who produce these images feed the habit of individuals like you”.

Judge Kay added: “It is truly depressing and depraved and each one of those children in these images has suffered in the most terrible way. It can affect their lives forever.”

Mitigating, defence solicitor Andrew Morton stressed that Pidgeon had genuinely engaged with rehabilitation and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Anyone concerned about their online behaviour, or the online behaviour of others, can anonymously call the Stop It Now helpline on 0808 1000 900 or visit