Scarborough mental health nurse who downloaded vile pictures of child abuse avoids jail

A mental-health nurse who downloaded vile pictures of tots being raped has avoided jail.

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 10:26 am

Samuel Hicks, 31, from Scarborough, trawled the web for sickening images of children being violated during the Coronavirus lockdown, York Crown Court heard.

Police swooped on Hicks’s home after receiving a tip-off about his online activities and seized three computer devices including a laptop, a mobile phone and a disc drive, said prosecutor

Brooke Morrison.

York Crown Court.

“From these devices, a number of images were found,” she added.

Among them were photos and videos showing children “of a particularly young age” being sexually abused and in “discernible distress”.

Analysis of Hicks’s devices showed he had downloaded 1,336 debauched images.

They included Category A images – the worst of their kind.

Fiona Clancy, mitigating, said Hicks was an otherwise hard-working man who was working as a mental-health nurse at the time of the offences during lockdown and had been “significantly”

affected by the strictures imposed to fight the pandemic.

“He was experiencing patient deaths which was very difficult to deal with,” she added.

“He will not be able to return to that work as a consequence of these (offences).

He was isolated and struggling very greatly with the (Covid restrictions).”

She said that Hicks, of Main Street, Staxton, had never been in trouble before and suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Hicks, whose career now lies in tatters, admitted making indecent images of children and possessing extreme pornographic images.

He appeared for sentence on Wednesday (Dec 8).

Judge Simon Hickey told Hicks: “You were a nurse, or community nurse – you will have lost that.”

He described the images downloaded by Hicks as “revolting”.

However, Mr Hickey said that because Hicks had no previous convictions and had taken steps to rid himself of his vile habit, “I’m prepared to give you a chance”.

The judge cited a psychiatric report which stated that Hicks was “capable of staying on the right side of the law”.

As a result, the 10-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months.

Hicks was ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work in the community and to complete 46 rehabilitation-activity days.

He was placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and was made subject to a 10-year sexual-harm prevention order, mainly to curb his internet activities.

He was also placed on disbarring lists preventing him working with vulnerable children or adults.