"you engaged in role-play for your and their sexual gratification"
A woman received a suspended sentence after she distributed indecent images of children on WhatsApp.
Ketan Shende, aged 42, of Mossley Hill, Liverpool, sent the pictures and videos to men in lewd chats, then claimed she had merely been engaged in “role play”.
She continued to do so even after police raided her home.
Merseyside Police first visited her house on March 22, 2022, after receiving information.
They seized a mobile phone and found 84 indecent images in category A – those graded as showing the most serious forms of abuse.
These included pictures and videos of children aged as young as four being raped.
Also found were 30 category B images and 35 in category C, which had been collected since October 2020.
On March 12, 2022, Shende distributed 13 category A, two category B and three category C indecent images in a WhatsApp conversation with a man known as “Billy”.
During a police interview, Shende denied having a “sexual interest in children, but enjoyed role-playing and sending these images to other people”.
She was released on bail but another search warrant was executed on January 11, 2023.
On this occasion, police found one category C image on another phone which had been distributed on WhatsApp on Boxing Day by the defendant under the name “Leah”.
Shende – who has no previous convictions – admitted four counts of distributing indecent images of children, one of possession of indecent images and four of making indecent images.
Rebecca Smith, defending, said: “She has been candid in trying to provide some level of understanding into her own difficulties and why it is she committed these offences.
“She is somebody who has very complex circumstances. She understands there are a number of levels she has to unpick.
“There are deep-rooted issues, beginning in childhood trauma and escalating to alcohol and drug misuse.
“What is clear is that steps have been taken by Ms Shende, something the court can given consideration to.”
Recorder David Knifton KC said: “You admitted you had contact with a number of males online in which you engaged in role-play for your and their sexual gratification and that involved the sending of indecent images.
“You denied any sexual interest in children.
“The court is right to be sceptical, but in my judgement, it makes little or no difference to the sentencing exercise.
“You have seen fit to distribute such images for yours or the males’ sexual gratification.
“The trade in child pornography is a disgusting and evil trade.”
“It results in misery to the children who are victims, particularly where the purpose is the sexual gratification of deviant adults.
“You have shown a determination to addressing your offending behaviour. Significant progress has been made to date.
“I note you have a history of depressive illness, a mixed personality disorder and gender dysphoria. You have also abused alcohol, which seems to have stemmed from an unhappy childhood and emotional trauma as you seek to transition from male to female.
“I have thought long and hard as to whether an immediate custodial sentence should be imposed. In the event, I have drawn back from that course.
“But I want to emphasise how close you have come, even though this is you first set of offences. There will only be one place you are going if you breach that order.”
Shende received a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Shende was also told to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 25 days, as well as being told to sign the sex offenders’ register and being made subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order. Forfeiture of the seized mobile phones was ordered.