Former iSolutions employee sentenced for 16 counts of Possessing, Distributing and Making Indecent Images

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On the 10th July, former iSolutions employee, Michael Axford appeared before Southampton Crown Court in respect of a sentencing hearing upon which he pleaded guilty to 16 counts of Possessing, Distributing and Making Indecent Images, he was  sentenced to a total of 8 months custody suspended for a period of 2 years with a supervision requirement of 2 years, will receive a Sex Offenders Treatment Programme together with the Sex Offenders Notification requirement for 10 years and must pay a £200 fine.

Michael Axford, a thirty-two year old ECS graduate, who until his resignation worked for iSolutions at the University, had his computers and hard drives confiscated by the Police as part of “Operation Greenheart” intended to target online paedophilia, from his home in Bassett. The court heard that the seized computer equipment contained 185 “level 1” indecent images (non-sexualised images collected in an inappropriate context) to 10 “level 8” images (explicit sexual activity), totalling 762 images.

It was also revealed that he made extensive use of online chatrooms to acquire this illicit material, using the false persona of a fourteen year old girl named “Sarah”, and one of the seized chatlogs implies he had also distributed at least one offending image.

As well as working for iSolutions, Mr. Axford volunteered for Union Films. In the defence testimony, he was described by his close family as “incredibly socially inept”, “incredibly shy” and as never having “formed an intimate relationship [with anybody]”. He was described as having very little social contact outside of his work, having only worked at the University since his graduation.

The sentence of 8 months custody was suspended for two years, under the conditions of supervision for the duration, that he undergoes a Sex Offenders Treatment Programme and commits no further offences during this period. In addition, he is disqualified from working with children for for life, as well as receiving a Sex Offenders Notification, which prohibits his use of equipment with Internet access, unless it maintains a record of Internet history and may be inspected by the Police on demand, amongst other restrictions on his Internet usage. Credit was given for his guilty plea and being a likely candidate for treatment.

When asked for comment after the conviction, the University were unable to issue a comment, nor to confirm that he worked for the University, under the University’s data protection policy.

All details were obtained for the Wessex Scene in Open Court.

This article was published on 11th July and The Wessex Scene formally acknowledges and apologises for the inaccuracies which were presented on first publishing. We have since been in contact with Mr. Axford’s lawyers and have made changes accordingly.

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    This has really made me think twice about sentencing – what’s to stop him doing this again???

    Sam Whitehall
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    I think the intent of the judge was that he was a very suitable candidate for treatment/reform, and having a jail sentence would make that pretty
    much impossible, plus his character reference suggested he might be vulnerable, were he incarcerated.

    They can make measures to prevent him reoffending by keeping him under supervision for the period, preventing contact with under-16s and monitoring his computer equipment if they have suspicions that he’s repeating his offences. If he breaks any of these, his sentence is unsuspended.

    I personally believe this is a better way of dealing with non-violent, “minor” criminals who show genuine remorse, as opposed to merely resorting to punitive measures, but this is more a philosophical tension between the ideals and pragmatics of the judicial system than this case in particular.

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