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Comedian sentenced over indecent images of children

A comedian who has appeared on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown has been sentenced after being found with more than 35,000 indecent images of children.

Christopher Thomas Binns, whose character is hospital DJ Ivan Brackenbury, pleaded guilty last November to five counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing a prohibited image.

Derby Crown Court heard the 53-year-old was found to have thousands of images on multiple devices.

Binns, who has no previous convictions, was spared jail on Thursday, with Judge Shaun Smith KC handing him a suspended sentence.

Lauren Fisher, prosecuting, said 104 category A indecent images – the most serious – were found, along with 411 in category B and 34,946 in category C.

Ms Fisher also said three prohibited images were found, along with one category B and one C moving image.

However, Judge Smith warned that some of the images may have been duplicates.

Ms Fisher said all the images were downloaded between March 26 and November 21, 2020.

She said: “Between October 14 and 15, 2020 the National Crime Agency received information that the user of [the defendant’s email] had uploaded multiple category C indecent images of children.”

A warrant was executed at Binns’s address at Bole Hill, Calow, Derbyshire, and he was arrested, with 39 devices seized including a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and an iPad.

Ms Fisher said: “During the investigation, it was established that a third party of Mr Binns’s partner had been asked to sell several devices on behalf of Mr Binns.

“Those devices were also checked.”

The devices, including two hard drives, were found to also include thousands of accessible and inaccessible images, including 25,000 inaccessible category C images.

Matthew Hayes, mitigating, said Binns had not committed any other offences since this incident and referenced the impact of prescribed medication his client was taking at the time, but did not fully elaborate in court.

In an earlier statement to the comedy news website Chortle, Binns said: “Over two years ago, while under the influence of an overdose of prescription drugs for ADHD, which induced obsessive-compulsive disorder, I downloaded and deleted a very large amount of adult pornography over a short period of time.

Christopher Binns said he had downloaded the images in error in a previous statement (Ian West/PA)
In a previous statement, Christopher Binns said he had downloaded the images in error (Ian West/PA)

“Within those downloads, it appears there was some child pornography which I had not sought out nor wanted.

“I have no sexual interest in children. I have taken and passed a polygraph stating I have no sexual interest in children.

“I am bitterly upset at the hurt this has caused my family, for which I take full responsibility.

“I will take my punishment for this and hope that my family are not further harmed by my actions.”

Judge Smith said Binns’s offending was “simply unacceptable” but deemed he does not pose a risk to the public, and is unlikely to re-offend.

He gave Binns a combined 10-month sentence, suspended for 15 months, made him the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, and ordered him to sign the sex offender register, both for 10 years.

He said: “You are sickened by what it was that you were downloading and looking at and, quite frankly, you don’t need me to tell you that you should be, because this kind of offending has real victims.

“It is right to say that had it not been for Covid, had it not been for the medication you were taking at that period of time, you would not be before the court, but the fact is that you are.

“You have returned to the law-abiding life that you were living before these offences.”

Binns’s character Ivan Brackenbury was nominated at the Edinburgh Festival for the Edinburgh Comedy Award 2007, and he has also appeared on BBC drama Spooks and Channel 4’s IT Crowd.

Following sentencing, Holly Triggs, operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “Tom Binns deliberately collected a huge number of indecent images of children.

“Behind each one is an abused child who has had their wellbeing, innocence and privacy violated.

“Demand for images is a major driver of child sexual abuse globally, so we at the NCA are unrelenting in our commitment to protecting children from sexual abuse and bringing serious offenders to justice.”