A Guildford man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to making and distributing over 35,000 child abuse images
Alan Witthoft, 49, was sentenced today (7 June), at Guildford Crown Court.
Witthoft was arrested after a warrant was carried out at his home address on 17 October 2018.
A detailed forensic examination of his computer and mobile phone was carried out between October 2018 and January 2019, and a large number of child abuse images, as well as search terms indicative of child abuse material, were uncovered.
Witthoft was subsequently charged with making and distributing child abuse images, including:
Witthoft had also carried out more than 40 unique searches related to child abuse.
Investigating Officer, Dave Evans from Surrey Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: “Witthoft had collected a huge number of child abuse images, including stills and videos, since 2013, which he was involved in distributing. The evidence against him was overwhelming, and he had no other option but to plead guilty.
“The POLIT team works hard to identify any individual who is involved in viewing, possessing or distributing child abuse material and ensure they are brought to justice.”
Mr Evans continued: “Protecting children is the team’s number one priority and we work closely with other agencies to help protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“If you suspect anyone of viewing or distributing child abuse images, please report it to us a matter of urgency.
“We would also urge you to come forward if you believe a child is being sexually or physically abused and assure you that all allegations will be fully investigated.”
Witthoft was given a 14 months suspended sentence, 150 hours of unpaid work, 30 sessions of rehab, 10 year sexual harm prevention order and ordered to pay £1,340 costs and victim surcharge. He was given credit for his early guilty plea, previous good character and engaging with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to change his behaviour.
For further information on how to report suspected child abuse, please click here: https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/caa/child-abuse/how-to-report-possible-child-abuse/
If you are concerned about your own online behaviour, you can contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation at https://www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk/ or call the confidential Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900.
Notes to editors/Q and A: There is a significant difference between making and taking child abuse material. Making relates to downloading material, whereas taking means the suspect has physically taken the photo with a camera.