Snake porn and vile animal abuse images shared in 44-strong WhatsApp group (but only one man ended up in court)

A judge has questioned whether it was in the public interest to prosecute a rugby coach who was found with extreme pornography on his phone.

Mark Glew had 10 movies and two images of ‘consenting adults’ engaging in sex acts with animals, including a snake, as well as sadomasochism.

But after hearing the 22-year-old was the only member of a 44 strong WhatsApp group to land in court he was put on a one month conditional discharge.

Judge Robert Pawson, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, said “It seems to me appearing in the crown court for a matter like this is a sledgehammer to crack a very small nut.”

Adding it was not a decision for him to make he said “One does wonder whether or not it is in the public interest to charge you.”

Glew was arrested in Wiltshire in November 2017 for another matter, which was never proceeded with, and the police confiscated his phone.

Mark Ashley, prosecuting, told the court that among the thousands of files on the device they found the offending material.

After getting into the first team he joined their WhatsApp group to get details of matches and other events.

But one of the other players uploaded the files, including bestiality involving a snake, as well as pictures of people’s genitals apparently being injured.

Glew, of Hatherley, Yate, admitted possessing six extreme pornographic images portraying an act which resulted or was likely to result in serious injury to a person’s genitals.

He has also been accused of having in his possession four extreme pornographic images depicting sexual activity with a cow, dog and a snake.

All the charges are dated between October 4, 2016, and November 5, 2017.

Carl Buckley, defending, said his client had been working as a rugby and cricket coach at the time of his arrest and as a result of the conviction had lost his job.

His client cried in the dock as his barrister told how the matter had also impacted on his family, including his16-year-old brother.

He said while he was back in the first XV his coaching licences were still suspended and he had found a new job in an auction house.

Passing sentence the judge said “The images, and I don’t seek to downplay the seriousness of them, not only are they immoral but they are illegal to download, distribute of possess.

“For various public policy reasons they are illegal. Anyone who saw them would probably have a sharp intake of breath and wonder if they were illegal.

“There is no suggestion there were any children involved. Had there been that would be a wholly different matter.

“One suspects that images such as these are probably widely available and probably wrongly distributed among WhatsApp groups throughout the country, perhaps out of some misplaced bravado or humour.”

He added that the case had taken 18 months to come to court despite the defendant admitting having the images in interview, saying he didn’t realise they were illegal.

As a result of the one year conditional discharge Glew will no be required to register as a sex offender.

This is Wiltshire

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