Stewart Brown: driven to the brink of suicide
THE DISGRACED former mayor of Hebden Royd has walked free after admitting downloading 1,000 child porn pictures.
Stewart Brown also distributed 10 of the sick images.
Some of the children were as young as four. Five of the pictures were rated level five – the most serious.
Brown, 60, of Nutclough, Hebden Bridge, was given a nine-month suspended sentence yesterday.
He said the shame of the case had pushed him to the brink of suicide.
Brown, a Labour Party candidate for Elland in last year's council elections, also admitted distributing 10 indecent images of youngsters under the user name Teenracer on an internet forum called Skooldays.
He was arrested in April last year after specialist police internet investigators discovered Brown on the site.
As well as viewing and downloading images, he also posted pictures of a 12-year-old schoolgirl he had stolen from the popular children's social networking site Bebo.
Michael Collins, prosecuting at Leeds Crown Court, said officers swooped on his Hebden Bridge home and confiscated computers, CDs and other digital material.
Of the images recovered, five were level five and 32 were level four.
Brown was interviewed at Halifax police station and told officers he had been downloading indecent material for a number of years and had developed an interest in schoolgirls.
Judge Alistair McCallum told him: "This is immense shame you have bought upon yourself.
"You had risen to a position of trust and would have been looked up to by people.
"What brought you to this situation I suppose you are still trying to work out for yourself.
"You could have hoped to go into retirement thoroughly lauded and respected for what you have achieved. Instead you have lost your reputation."
Bryan Ing, for Brown, said: "It is the biggest shame that could be bought upon someone and has left him with suicidal tendencies.
"What has happened has ruined his life and he has lost his good name as the mayor of Hebden Royd."
Brown will have his sentence suspended for two years and will attend a sex offender's treatment programme and be put on the sex offender register.
He must pay £1,200 costs.
Outside court, Det Con John Higgins who led the investigation, said: "Stewart Brown was a pillar of the community but he has contributed to the vile trade of images of child abuse."