Of the 4,762 prosecutions for offences related to making, distributing, or possessing indecent images of children that took place across courts across England and Wales, just 2,385 ended in a conviction, or 50 per cent.
Exclusive analysis of Crown Prosecution Service figures by The Mirror has revealed that the conviction rate was at a five-year low, having fallen from 52 per cent in both 2019 and 2018, and the lowest figure recorded since 2015.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “It is extremely worrying that the number of convictions for indecent images of children is decreasing.
“This does not mean that less child abuse is taking place – it just means that more children are slipping through the net and more perpetrators are being allowed to walk free and continue their crimes.”
In light of the findings by The Mirror, we decided to do a roundup of some of the criminals caught with indecent images this year in Cheshire.
Below you’ll find the names and faces of five criminals caught with sickening material.
Paedophile caught with child rape images keeps Cheshire IT job
Peter Williams, from Eastham, kept his job at a Cheshire IT firm after being found with sickening images.
The 28-year-old was found with a collection that included more than 100 child rape images.
He was arrested after a police raid on his home revealed he kept a vile library of images across three devices.
In total, he owned 237 images, but a court heard today he has been kept on in his IT role for a Cheshire company.
In April, Williams was given an eight month sentence suspended for 12 months.
He must complete 200 hours of unpaid work and undertake 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was also imposed for seven years.
Williams must also sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
The paedophile who blackmailed his victims on Snapchat before raping them
Matthew Lawton was jailed earlier this year for a string of sexual offences, including taking an indecent photographs of a child.
The 30-year-old from Widnes preyed on his victims via Snapchat, lying about his age and arranging to meet them.
Lawton would film himself having sex with the girls and pestered them to send him intimate photos.
He then used this indecent material to blackmail his victims into continuing to see him, threatening to put the film and photographs on social media for family and friends to see.
Lawton eventually carried out his threat of posting the film of the pair having sex on social media which led to a high school becoming aware of the video and calling the police.
The Widnes man was convicted of 19 sex offences at Liverpool Crown Court, including four counts of raping two 13 and 14-year girls.
He was jailed for 15 years and given an extended four years on licence.
Lawton was also ordered to sign the sexual offenders’ register and comply with a sexual harm prevention order for life.
Sick paedophile subjected girl, 7, to ‘horrific’ abuse
The 29-year-old was caught when the girl told her mother what Thomas had done, who then contacted the police.
Officers arrested Thomas and seized electronic devices that contained indecent images of children.
Thomas pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual touching of a child under the age of 13 and two counts of producing indecent photographs of children.
He was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to eight a half years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on February 26.
Warrington man who shared child rape videos said he ‘did not know it was a crime’
Fartam Bassiri from Warrington was jailed back in February after he sending sick child rape videos and animal porn.
The dad-of-three was caught following a police raid in December 2018 that found around 30 indecent images on his laptop.
The 46-year-old said he did not have a sexual interest in children, despite the sickening material found on the devices.
One of the videos, which was sent to a doctor in Germany, involved two 12-year-old girls performing sex acts.
Meanwhile, another video sent by Bassiri involved two boys engaged in a sexual act with a donkey.
Bassiri was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for one year and eight months.
He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years and must adhere to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.
Cheshire child rapist jailed for 15 years
Abhorrent child-rapist Ashley Wilson was caught after he was arrested over indecent images he had stashed at his home.
The 32-year-old from Winsford had abused a girl repeatedly over several years.
On the day he was arrested, the child victim revealed to her family what Wilson had done to her.
In January, Wilson was sentenced to 15 years and will be on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
The judge who jailed him told Ashley he had “failed to accept the reality that you are a paedophile”.
Wilson pleaded guilty to sexual assault including rape and assault by penetration.
He also admitted to three counts of making indecent images, one count of distributing indecent images and one count of possession of indecent images.
Top stories from CheshireLive
Here are the latest stories from the CheshireLive newsletter
Want to sign up to receive these stories straight to your inbox? It’s free and means you’ll never miss the most important Cheshire news of the day
You can sign up here
Not signed up but want to try it out?
You can read a preview of today’s newsletter here