Music teacher jailed for indecent images

A music teacher who admitted possessing indecent images of children aged between four and 15-years-old has been jailed at Derry Crown Court.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:24 pm

Jonathan Hutton received a determinate sentence of 16 months, half of which will be spent in custody and the remaining half on licence in the community.

The 37-year-old, whose address was given on court papers as C/O Maghaberry, pleaded guilty to 22 charges of possessing indecent images on May 20, 2015.

Derry Crown Court heard that a total of 124 indecent images of children were contained on the memory card of a mobile phone owned by the defendant.

The phone was seized by police during a search of Hutton’s family home in the Culmore Road area of the city for an unrelated matter.

The images on the phone were analysed and were found to contain seven images and one video in the most serious category, along with 116 in other less serious categories.

Hutton was arrested at his home in Irvinestown in September 2019 and during police interview made no comment to the allegations.

The court heard that Hutton taught music for around ten years, mostly as a private teacher but also a substitute teacher in schools.

In a probation pre-sentence report, Hutton expressed regret and remorse for both the victims and the impact his offending had on his family.

The 37-year-old, who has been assessed as posing a medium likelihood of reoffending, also accepted that he needs assistance in order to stop this behaviour.

In written submissions to the court, defence counsel Stephen Mooney pointed out that his client pleaded guilty at arraignment.

He added that there was no evidence Hutton engaged in any kind of distribution of the images and was not involved in the making or the creation of them.

The barrister also said that his client was in possession of a limited number of images, in comparison to other cases in which many hundreds or thousands of images have been discovered.

Passing sentence, Derry Crown Court Judge Philip Babington said that there is no doubt that the defendant ‘developed curiosity towards sex, which moved on towards pornography and then into child pornography’.

He said the defendant ‘realised from time to time that what he was doing was illegal and tried to move away from it’.

However, Hutton described it as ‘a beast which always rears its ugly head’.

Jailing the defendant, Judge Babington said: “Offending such as this passes the custody threshold and is aggravated to a degree by the very young age of some of the children appearing in the images – approximately four years old in some cases.

Hutton will be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act for ten years.

He was also disqualified from working with children and made subject to a sexual offences prevention order, with a number of conditions, for ten years.