A PAEDOPHILE who showed ‘an abhorrent disregard’ for the welfare of young children has been jailed for five years.
Warren Hilts, 40, who at the time lived in a caravan at West Sands Caravan Park, in Mill Lane, Selsey, pleaded guilty to 21 counts of distributing and possessing pornographic images of children and inciting sex offences against children online.
Sentencing at Chichester Crown Court today (February 21), judge Claudia Ackner said: “You take no responsibility for and show no insight into the harm or misery that you cause a vulnerable section of society.”
Many of the images and videos seized from Hilts’ computer showed children in ‘clear and immediate distress’, according to Judge Ackner.
She added: “Without people such as yourself downloading or distributing such material there would be no market for such things.”
She gave him a nine-year sentence for the most serious offence, of which he would spend five years in prison and four years out on extended licence.
He received two-year sentences each for five other counts of inciting sex offences.
He received a four-year sentence for nine other offences of possessing and distributing the images and a 12-month sentence for all the others.
These will all run concurrently.
He was also made subject of a sexual offences prevention order, barred from working with children and his laptop will be destroyed.
“Your actions have contributed to a very serious abuse of children who are unable to look after themselves,” said Judge Ackner.
She told Hilts he assumed the persona of ‘instigator’, encouraging very serious sexual activity with young girls, sometimes children and often related to the person Hilts was encouraging.
Judge Ackner said because of his guilty plea, which he entered in January after initially pleading not guilty, he would serve two-thirds of his sentence.
‘Very little to look forward to’
Speaking in mitigation, Victoria Maude described Hilts as a man ‘who has absolutely nothing’.
“What little he had before his arrest is now gone,” she said, adding: “These are extremely serious offences, to which he chose to change his plea by contacting those instructing me. I would ask the court to give him some credit for those pleas and to take into some consideration that he doesn’t have any previous convictions for anything like this.”
The court heard Hilts moved to the UK from Canada in 1997 and was married for 16 years.
“His marriage has broken down,” said Miss Maude, adding: “He has very little to look forward to.”
Psychiatric reports showed Hilts had no mental illness that was treatable or diagnosable.
“There doesn’t appear to be any network of support available to him either through friends or relatives,” she said. “He’s 40 years old and up to last year had never come before the courts.”
Hilts was arrested following an investigation by Hertfordshire Constabulary, who uncovered links he had with another predatory sex offender.
This man was arrested the day before he planned to assault his five-year-old daughter.
When his computer was analysed, it was found he had been in contact with someone who went by the screen name Badger Hilts. Investigations linked the account name to Hilts, in Selsey.
When police visited him at West Sands in April, 2012, they found his dog was called Badger.
He was ‘obstructive’ to police and gave them the wrong password for his email address three times.
He was charged last year, originally pleading not guilty, but changed his plea in January.
A search of his computer revealed hundreds of indecent pictures and videos. These have now been destroyed.