A ‘DISGUSTING’ paedophile who routinely collected videos of children as young as three being raped and sexually abused to feed his habit has been spared jail.

James Pearce, 46, of Stoodham, South Petherton, appeared at Taunton Crown Court on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to making indecent photographs of children, possession of prohibited images of children, and an extreme pornographic image featuring bestiality.

He was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years, as well as a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years, a notification order for 10 years, a two-year supervision requirement, and two programmes to prevent reoffending.

Pearce made no comment when he was arrested by police last April and interviewed, and did not enter a plea at his first court appearance, at Somerset Magistrates in Yeovil.


Patrick Mason, prosecuting, said: “He pleaded guilty to all counts on the indictment at his plea and trial preparation hearing on August 29.

“He is 46, he was born in 1971, and he has no previous convictions.”

The court heard that police first became aware of Pearce’s involvement on file sharing programmes in July 2015.

Mr Mason said: “On April 4, a search warrant was executed at his address in South Petherton and a number of items of computer hardware were seized - two tablets, two laptops and a memory stick.

Discussing the use of these devices to access child pornography, Mr Mason added: “The earliest use was in 2007. The more intensive use seems to be in the 12 months prior to the machines being seized.

“The computers were being used for routine, organised collection of images.”

Pearce was found to have 499 images and 1,226 movies which fell into category A, the most serious level of indecent content.

He also had 544 images and 393 movie files which were category B in nature, and a further 1,129 photographs and 121 films of category C.

Pearce was also in possession of prohibited images of children, and an extreme pornographic image which portrayed in an explicit and realistic way a person performing acts of intercourse and oral sex with a live animal which were grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.


Harry Ahuja, mitigating, said: “The material went in low in age as three, and there were some videos where children were in discernible pain, although those files were small within the number of files found.

“I have to concede there was a long period of time… it was about five years or six years of use.

“He is someone who has been severely isolated and someone who hasn’t had an adult relationship in his life. He is an introverted individual and he has remained living with his father most of his life.

“He started off with adult porn and ended up looking at children, doing that on a regular basis and it became a habit for him.

“It didn’t occur to him that he was causing indirect harm. He is very remorseful for what he has done and is showing all the right signs for rehabilitation.

“The probation services take the view that he is a good rehabilitation prospect. This is a man that ought to be given an opportunity by way of a suspended sentence.

“Because he is a lesser risk probation are suggesting two courses on a one-to-one basis. Probation feel that is the best way to reduce risk.”

The court heard that Pearce has lived in South Petherton for many years and is well known in the village, including working in a supermarket for more than 20 years.

Judge’s summary

Judge David Evans said: “James Pearce, you are 46 and you are a paedophile.

“I must sentence you for five offences – three counts of making photographs of children at all category levels A, B and C, one count of possessing two prohibited images of children, and a fifth charge of possessing graphic images depicting bestiality.

“You had images depicting children, some as young as babies, being raped and otherwise sexual abused found on four devices, some images dating back as far as a decade ago.

“It seems you gave no thought to the quite obvious harm to these children as you sat in your bedroom.

“It must be difficult for ordinary members of the public to understand how another adult, another human being, could not see the obvious distress and harm caused to these children when they are forced to engage in sexual activities.

“It is people like you that generate a market for such images, without which there would be no point in the images being distributed. The harm you have caused is indirect but nonetheless great.

“The children depicted are sometimes babies and they are clearly vulnerable, if only through young age.

“The period of downloading images is a long one, at least four or five years. That is a considerable period of time to be engaged in this disgusting activity and there was a high volume found on a number of devices.

“There is clearly evidence of searching the internet for category A, the worst images, using phrases like pre-teen hardcore.

“It seems clear you are making no excuses as is often the seen by people in your position.

“You have lost your job and so you should have. You have lost the trust of your father and sister and so you should have done.

“I am not sure how the people of South Petherton will judge you. I doubt being a paedophile goes down well in that village.

“Your lack of intimate adult relationships make you vulnerable to reoffending in the future “You have taken some first steps, although they are very easy to take. It will get harder.

“Rehabilitation is unlikely to be achieved either in prison or during the limited period of time on license or supervision on your release.

“You are a likely rehabilitation prospect and so I must follow the guidelines. The sentence of imprisonment in this case can be suspended.”


On count one, possession of category A images and videos, Pearce was given an 18-month prison sentence.

On count two, possession of category B images and videos, he received a 12-month sentence.

On count three, possession of category C images and videos, Pearce got an eight-month sentence.

On count four, possession of prohibited images of children, he was sentenced to one month in prison.

One count five, possession of graphic material involving bestiality, Pearce received an eight-month prison sentence.

These terms are all to be served concurrently, totalling 18 months, and the sentence has been suspended for the maximum period of two years.