Child sex offender faces ‘nasty and brutish’ future in prison

Bristol Crown Court heard the case on August 12.

Bristol Crown Court heard the case on August 12. - Credit: Archant

A judge has told a Clevedon child sex offender he faces a ‘nasty and brutish’ future after sentencing him to years behind bars.

Joseph Hastings was jailed by Judge Julian Lambert. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Joseph Hastings was jailed by Judge Julian Lambert. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

Joseph Hastings was jailed on August 12 after admitting 15 counts of sexual activity with a child among other charges.

Hastings, of Hazell Close, sexually abused three children, aged two to six, between 2011 and 2013 and filmed his ‘depraved desires’.

His crimes however were only uncovered when he sent an indecent photo of a child to a police officer in November via an online forum monitored by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

A large-scale investigation began and thousands of indecent images and films were found on four devices at the 29-year-old’s home.

Jennifer Tallentire, prosecuting, told the court that it was the worst case of sexual abuse the investigating officer had seen in their seven-year career.

She also said it would have taken police ‘weeks’ for police to categorise all the photos and movies due to the ‘huge’ collection Hastings had built up.

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Kannan Siva, defending, said his client was ‘lonely’ and sought friendship and believed the online forum could provide that.

He said Hastings had a curiosity which developed into a fascination he was unable to control.

Judge Julian Lambert, sentencing Hastings, said: “You have shown an utterly self-centred attitude and pursued your depraved desires without regard for the innocent and vulnerable.

“Rather than bring laughter and happiness to very young people, you preyed on them for sexual purposes.

“Anger apart, what you did provokes tears in many and makes other physically sick.”

Hastings was handed a sentence of 13 years and eight months, of which eight years and eight months will be served in custody. He has also been made subject of a sexual harm behaviour order which prevents him from being within 50 yards of a play area, among other restrictions.

Judge Lambert described Hastings as ‘calculated’ and his actions ‘utterly abhorrent’.

He also said Hastings led a ‘predatory lifestyle’ because he targeted ‘very young and very vulnerable’ victims.

The NSPCC praised police for their work in the case.

Its South West England spokesman said: “There is no doubt that Hastings was a prolific child sex offender, responsible for numerous horrendous attacks on children.

“Shockingly, all of his unspeakable crimes were committed against youngsters under the age of seven, with depraved Hastings exploiting their vulnerability for his own sexual gratification.

“The vile abuse suffered by defenceless victims, such as those in this disturbing case, can ruin childhoods and affect individuals into adulthood, so it is crucial that individuals receive the support they require.

“The police must be praised for their intervention. Hastings is now rightly behind bars, where he can no longer hurt any other children.

“It is vital anyone affected by child abuse can access the support they need rather than suffer in silence, as sadly so many do.

“ChildLine, on 0800 1111, is available 24/7 to offer confidential advice.

“Meanwhile, adults concerned about a child’s welfare can call our helpline on 08088 005000.”