Billy Charlton jailed for distributing image of child performing sex act with animal

A hate speaker who was jailed over a series of public protests against sex offenders has been locked up after distributing a video of a child having intercourse with an animal over WhatsApp.

William Charlton, known as Billy, was given a prison sentence in 2019 over speeches he gave at a series of planned demonstrations in Sunderland.

Charlton was jailed for 21 months in September 2019 and was told by the judge he was “an intelligent, articulate, skilled public speaker but also a manipulator and bully” who had caused a “toxic atmosphere” in the city.

By that time, police had already seized his phone after a video had been found, that he had sent to another man who had been arrested for an unrelated matter, which featured a child engaged in a sex act with an animal.

Charlton was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court last summer of sending the video clip to over 40 of his contacts over WhatsApp.

The 57-year-old had insisted he did not view the 18 second video, which featured a boy aged between 10-14 with the animal, before he forwarded it on and had no reason to suspect its contents were illegal.

Prosecutor Ian West told the court today: “There is no suggestion he is a paedophile or gained any sexual gratification from watching or distributing theimage, nor did he intend any of the recipients to receive sexual gratification from it.

“He just has, it seems, a sick sense of humour.”

Charlton, of Sidmouth Road, Gateshead, was convicted of distributing a Category A image of a child.

He had also admitted possessing extreme pornography in relation to an image involving an adult female engaging in sexual activity with an animal.

And he had also pleaded guilty to another offence of extreme pornography, again involving an adult.

Judge Sarah Mallett today jailed Charlton for a total of three years and said he must sign the sex offenders register for life.

The judge told him: “It is accepted by the prosecution you did not have any sexual motivation in distributing the image and that is one of the factors I have to consider.”

But the judge said any distribution of such image risks “potential exposure to a large number of people” and the fact the video was already in the public domain was no consolation to the child featured in it.

Judge Mallett said Charlton has been assessed as “unlikely to engage mindfully in offence focused work” with the probation service and has “not proved to be susceptible to changing views”.

The judge said Charlton has a “very limited prospect of rehabilitation” in the community.

During his trial last summer, Charlton told jurors he would regularly receive and send “daft jokes” over the messaging app on his phone and did not alwayswatch them.

He added: “It was just daft joke messages, things like that, you know what I mean.

“I would just forward them on, not even thinking about it most of the time.”

Charlton insisted he had not watched the video featuring the animal and child, that he had received from someone else.

He added: “It wasn’t something I would expect from him.

“He knows if he sent me images of children I would kick off with him, as I would anyone else.”

Charlton told jurors he is a “proud father and grandfather” and would receive and send messages thinking they were “daft jokes”.

He added: “Now, being branded a paedo over a stupid video I’ve never even seen, I would tell all my friends and family, get off it all.

“If you send something and you are not aware of it, you could be sitting here.”

His barrister Chrisopher Rose told the court today Charlton had a “crass, indifferent” attitude to the image and there was no sexual motivation behindthe offences.

Mr Rose said Charlton is not heavily convicted and added: “Since his release he has been of good character. He has not committed any further offences.”

Mr Rose said Charlton now leads and “isolated life” after the “public shaming”.

Sunderland Echo

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