A former Eton College student has been spared jail after making and sharing graphic images of child abuse, it has been reported.
Andrew Picard, 18, was found to have more than 2,000 pornographic images of children as young as two years old, including rape and bestiality. The images were found on his computer at the prestigious boarding school after Picard, then 17-years-old, shared the illegal material in an online chat room with an undercover police officer, The Daily Mail reports.
Picard has been given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Oxford Crown Court heard Picard made indecent images of children and shared them via Skype chat rooms between January and February of last year. Some of the images included children as young as two years old being forced to have sex with dogs.
The court heard an undercover officer entered an online chat room for teenagers, where he was approached by Picard who offered to send abuse images.
His message to the undercover officer read: “Do you want to see pics of boys and girls your age nude?”
After claiming to have hundreds of such images, he subsequently shared a number of indecent images of a boy, 10, and girls aged eight and 14.
Picard shared a video of his own face with the undercover officer.
Cathy Olliver, prosecuting, said: “His IP address led police to Eton College in Berkshire where staff were able to identify him as a pupil. He was arrested from school on suspicion of distributing indecent photographs of children.”
The computer in his school dormitory was seized and Picard admitted one count of possessing indecent pictures of children, one count of making indecent pictures of children and eight counts of distributing indecent photos or recordings of a child.
Defending, Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC said that Picard had been undergoing psychological treatment with psychiatrists and doctors in relation to the crimes. She said: “This is a young and very able man who has hopes for the future. He was able to have this opportunity [to seek help] and this was something Andrew sought for himself, by himself.”
Picard was spared jailed and given a 10-month sentence, suspended for 18 months and with a mental health treatment requirement.
Judge Peter Ross said: “This defendant Andrew Picard was a privileged young man. His family are clearly wealthy enough to send him to school in Eton. Quite how you found your way into this unpleasant world Mr Picard, the world of chatrooms and exchanging this material, is not clear to me.
“Why you did it, doctors and others have sought to explain- the emotional difficulties you had, issues around your sexuality… It has been said that you and your family have suffered deeply as a result of your arrest and public exposure. Your family didn’t deserve that but it is a consequence of this sort of offending.”
"All too often in these courtrooms, we see the internet and chatrooms providing a degree of assumed detachment in terms of what is said and the material that is viewed. Please make no bones about it, these are children, some of them very tiny and they are being abused and tortured simply to provide sexual gratification, mainly, to adult males.
“All over the world, too often in the third world, children [are] being made objects of the most appalling abuse. It forms a currency and you played a part in that. You were seeking to obtain your own sexual gratification.”