Primary school caretaker found with over 600 child abuse images walks free from court

Michael Pendry, 55, who lived on the school grounds, claimed he accessed the images because of a 'morbid curiosity'

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The Independent Online

A 55-year-old primary school caretaker walked free from Cardiff Crown court, claiming possessing over 600 child abuse images was “just a morbid curiosity.”

Michael Pendry, a Cardiff primary school caretaker who lived on the grounds, was caught by police in possession of 658 child abuse images, which he admitted he had looked at and shared with other paedophiles online “for years”.

Yesterday, Judge Huw Rees decided not to award Pendry a custodial term but said instead he would take a “risk” in sentencing him to three years community service.

In court, Judge Rees said: “I have to do what is best to protect children from your filthy interest.

“Anyone should know my sentences are meant to be constructive in order to try to cure you of your perversion and in order to try to protect children whose images are so readily available on the internet.

“This sentence means three years of being subject to my order for you to work at trying to rid yourself of your interest in such filth.”

When officers raided Pendry’s Canton home in November last year they discovered seven images in the worst category, 25 images of children as young as eight engaged in sexual activity with adults and 626 indecent images of children.

Pendry reportedly told officers during his arrest: “There is nothing involving anybody at the school,” and that he did not know any of the children in the images personally.

“I have looked at things on the internet. I have never hurt or touched a child. I have no inclinations towards children really. I got dragged into it. God knows how. I am sorry for what I have done,” Pendry allegedly said to officers, Wales Online reported.

Later, during police questioning, he claimed the images were “just a morbid curiosity,” the South Wales Evening Post reported.

Prosecutor Tony Trigg said Pendry claimed he would never touch children but that he had admitted the images were there for his sexual gratification.

Pendry will complete a sex offenders treatment programme over the period of his three year community order, and be subject to a sex offenders prevention order for five years.