A Warminster man who had more than 100,000 indecent images of children on his devices has been jailed for 12 years after admitting a catalogue of child sex offences that were committed over a 17-year period.
Joshua Wetherell, 31, of Boreham Field, Warminster, was arrested in July 2019 after police received intelligence about indecent images of children being uploaded to the internet via his Facebook account and using his email address.
Officers seized a number of devices from his property, including mobile phones, a hard drive, computer tower, DVDs and USB sticks.
When these were forensically examined, thousands of indecent images of children were uncovered, as well as explicit messages which detailed sexual assaults on children.
Officers also quickly realised that some of the indecent images showed Wetherell sexual abusing children known to him.
Wetherell appeared at Salisbury Crown Court last week (24th September) and pleaded guilty to a total of 21 charges relating to sexual assault of young children, arranging or facilitating the commission of child sex offences, causing children to engage in sexual activity, making indecent images of children and possessing extreme pornographic images.
In total officers discovered 105,028 indecent images of children, ranging from category A to C, 27,241 prohibited images and 647 extreme images.
He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the offences, as well as an additional four years on an extended licence due to him being classified as a dangerous offender. A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was also put in place.
Detective Constable Julia Vince, from Wiltshire Police’s Child Internet Exploitation Team, received a commendation from the Judge for her work on the case.
She said, “Wetherell is a prolific sexual predator who manipulated those around him to ensure he had the opportunity to abuse these young children.
“He then documented this abuse in a sickening way, both recording his offending and also detailing his crimes in online conversations with other sex offenders.
“When we initially arrested him we had no idea about the scale of his offending and, while any indecent image of a child shows a very real victim of sexual abuse, it soon became clear to us that Wetherell was sexually abusing children he knew and that he had been doing this for some time.
“His offending will have caused life-long trauma and distress for his victims and their families, and he has not shown a single shred of remorse for his actions.
“We will continue to ensure the young victims in this case receive the appropriate support, and the Child Internet Exploitation Team will continue our work to track down and arrest those offenders who pose such a great risk to children“.
For more information and support for anyone who is concerned about someone accessing indecent images of children, or who has wider concerns about child abuse, please click here.
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