An innocent man was arrested after his pervert neighbour used his wi-fi to search for indecent pictures and videos of young boys.
Robert Mawby had been given a 24-week jail sentence in 2010 for downloading child abuse images.
A decade later, the 60-year-old paedophile convinced his neighbour in Paterson Close, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, to let him have his wi-fi password so he could access the internet.
Between March and August this year Mawby went on to download 489 explicit pictures and videos.
In mid-August Leicestershire Police went to his neighbour’s house and arrested the innocent man on suspicion of downloading the illegal material.
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A few days later, on August 21, Mawby was arrested and fully exonerated his neighbour by admitting he downloaded the 476 images and 13 videos.
Mawby, who was later charged with making indecent images and breaching a sexual harm prevention order – which had been imposed by a court to limit his access to the internet – has been in custody since his arrest.
He told a sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court he could not return home because he was worried about being back with his neighbour.
He told the court: “I was looking to go into a probation hostel because of my neighbour.”
Phil Gibbs, prosecuting, told the court that the breach of the sexual harm prevention order would usually lead to a jail sentence.
He said: “This is a very serious breach, given the purpose of the order.”
He said that as well as downloading images of children, Mawby had breached the order by possessing a phone, a laptop and a hard drive Leicestershire Police had not been informed about.
However, James Bide-Thomas, representing Mawby, managed to convince Judge Robert Brown to release his client from prison and give him a community order with help to overcome his addiction.
Mr Bide-Thomas argued that his client had never been given such help in the past and had already been in custody since he was arrested two months ago.
He said: “10 years ago the defendant was convicted of making indecent images. He received a short custodial sentence.
“He was not sent on the course one might have expected.
“His thinking in relation to the offending needs some work and until that work is done there’s a risk of re-offending.
“I would urge your honour to consider a three-year community order to give plenty of time to undertake that work.”
Judge Brown agreed that the time Mawby had spent in prison already would automatically deduct more than six months off any jail sentence he gave him.
He told Mawby: “This clearly crosses the custody threshold and I would have given you 10 months.
“You’re 60, you need treatment and didn’t get it last time.
“You’ve pleaded guilty to all these matters and you’ve exonerated your neighbour and you’re entitled to credit for that.”
Mawby was given a three-year community order with 90 days of group work to tackle his offending and a further 30 days of working with probation officials.
His sexual harm prevention order, which bans him from having devices the police are not aware of or not able to search, continues indefinitely.