Fugitive jailed in indecent image case

03/04/2017

A 44-year-old man has today been sentenced to three years and eight months at Carlisle Crown Court for possessing and distributing over 6,000 indecent images of children. He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

In 2014 Stephen Carruthers was arrested at his home in Great Langdale, Cumbria and charged with possessing approximately 5,000 indecent images of children, before he fled the country for Europe. In January 2017 he was involved in a road traffic accident in France leading the French authorities to carry out background checks on him.  They found that he was wanted in the UK.  When they seized his laptop they found over 1,000 indecent images of children.

Victoria Atkinson for the CPS said: "Stephen Carruthers was arrested three years ago at his home in Cumbria for possessing a huge amount of indecent images of children.  He then skipped bail, fled the country, adopted a new identity and committed further offences whilst on the run.

"The CPS worked with the French authorities to extradite him back to the UK on a European Arrest Warrant to face both the original charges and to be further charged in relation to the images found on his laptop in France. The prosecution has presented a strong case to the court which has resulted in him today receiving a custodial sentence.

"Viewing and downloading indecent images of children is not a victimless crime. It contributes to the cycle of harm suffered by victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation."

Note to editors:

Victoria Atkinson is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West