Richard Coverdale, 24, of North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom was sentenced to three-and-a-half years jail after burglars discovered images and videos of child abuse on his laptop and turned it over to police.
Coverdale’s laptop was stolen during a burglary on August 19, 2008. However, on examining the contents of the laptop’s hard disk, the thieves discovered pornographic images that were disturbing enough that they felt compelled to turn it over to authorities, by way of a tip off.
According to acting Detective Sergeant Chris Stone:
Whilst they were carrying out an offence themselves, it is commendable that they did the right thing and this in turn has helped bring a serious offender to justice.
In the course of the investigation Coverdale confessed to downloading pictures of children and speaking to girls in chatrooms, one of whom he had exposed himself to via webcam a few days prior to the burglary. Following the incident, the girl in question said that she had felt degraded and humiliated and had resorted to self harm.
In sentencing, Judge Brian Forster QC, stated that Coverdale had ‘conducted a calculated scam against the girl’. Coverdale was sentenced to three-and-a-half years jail, banned from working with children for the rest of his life and will be issued with a ‘sexual offences prevention order’.
Since Coverdale’s arrest, a 38-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were apprehended in connection with the burglary. Both were sentenced to 12-month community orders, while the woman must also meet regularly with a probation officer.