Toni Prince
Toni Prince (Courtesy: UK & Ireland Database)

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK – A man who collected indecent images of prepubescent and adolescent minors, including some depicting the rapes of small children, was spared prison after a sympathetic judge apologized to the pedophile for the “torture” of a three-year wait resulting from law enforcement’s “unjust delay” in submitting evidence.

In June 2016, police conducted a raid of the home of Anthony Prince, a 55-year-old man who identifies as a woman named Toni. Police seized electronic devices storing 1,191 indecent images of children between the ages of five and 13-years-old.

108 of the images found on Mr Prince’s devices were classed as Category A, which the Crown Prosecution Service defines as content that shows children being raped. According to the prosecutor, 53 of the images portray “extreme pornography.”

The raid uncovered “extremely unsettling” handwritten messages in Mr Prince’s bedside drawer that contained the words “rape” and “torture.”

Mr Prince confessed to police, and pleaded guilty in court to charges of indecent images of children, possession of prohibited images of children and possession of extreme pornographic images.

He named mental health and a history of personal trauma as mitigating factors, explaining that he had experienced severe abuse as a child, and the downloads of indecent images of children was an “impulsive and obsessive behavior” he would engage in at the heights of his struggles with mental health.

Judge Peter Kelson
Judge Peter Kelson (Courtesy: South Yorkshire Times)

Judge Peter Kelson QC read a letter from several specialists about the abuse Mr Prince had been subjected to as a child. A letter from a counselor described the pedophile as the “most vulnerable client we have worked with in terms of the effect of her early trauma on her mental and physical health,” but noted that Mr Prince had proven himself to be the most “committed” to addressing his problems by voluntarily attending counseling sessions to get at the root of his underlying issues.

Police did not complete the forensic analysis of Mr Prince’s devices and submit the evidence until August 2018, over two years after the raid. At the bail hearing, Judge Kelson sympathetically called it “torture” for Mr Prince that he had been compelled to wait three years for his case to be heard.

Ms Prince, you have been subject to shocking delays, and I’m now creating a further four-day delay before sentencing you, but I need more help. Your offences are very serious, you know that…if I had sentenced you today, I would have sent you to prison…I’m not threatening you, and I’m not saying what your sentence will be on Friday. I know this is four more difficult days for you, but I hope you understand why I’m doing this.

Judge Kelson later determined that it would be most fair to Mr Prince to let him walk. “When there has been, as there clearly has been here, an unjust delay which is not in any way, shape or form your fault, I’m bound by the law to take it into account, and I do so,” the judge declared.

By Judge Kelson’s orders, if Mr Prince commits another offense within the next 12 months, he will be forced to serve out a six-month sentence for the convictions in this case, in addition to any sentence received on the new crime.

The judge also imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and a 34-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Read more on this story

Sex offender spared jail following ‘unjust delay’ by police in Sheffield
Daily Star
Toni Prince, of Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe, downloaded 1,191 indecent images of children, including some of children being raped.

Sheffield woman found with over 1,000 indecent images of children hauled before the court
Daily Star
South Yorkshire Police (SYP) raided the home of Toni Prince, 55, after receiving intelligence which suggested she had been downloading indecent images of children.

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