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Grieving father developed child porn addiction

Published: 6:17AM Friday January 18, 2013 Source: Fairfax

  •  (Source: ONE News)
    Source: ONE News

Helen Howland supported her husband through the death of their teenage son in the February 2011 earthquake and is now standing by him despite a child-pornography conviction.

John Howland, 38, was sentenced to eight months' home detention when he appeared in the Greymouth District Court on Tuesday after police found on his laptop thousands of images of children, including toddlers, performing sexual acts with adults.

The Howlands moved to Greymouth in 2011 after they lost their only son, Jayden, in the February quake.

The 14-year-old was killed when the bus he was riding home from school in was crushed by falling buildings.

But less than two years later they have found themselves in another "nightmare".

Helen Howland found out about her husband's dark addiction last September when police raided their house and found child pornography on his computer.

John Howland has been attending counselling sessions since and his home-detention period starts today.

Although the revelation had strained their 18-year relationship, Helen Howland is still living with her husband, supported him in court this week and said she never contemplated leaving him.

"We have gone through too much together to let it break us, so we will just keep going," she said.

"I'm not a judgmental person. He's just looked at pictures that were already on the internet.

"I'm not one of those people that's going to up and dump somebody because he's made a mistake.

"Losing Jayden was a hell of a lot worse."

When she questioned her husband about the offending he admitted that a "curiosity" in child pornography had started about five years ago, but said it had descended into an addiction after the death of their son.

The police were made aware of his offending after he had confided in a friend, she said.

The couple, who are both sickness beneficiaries, openly talk about the conviction, and Howland said her husband was "sorry" for his crime.

John Howland was convicted of seven charges of knowingly possessing objectionable material, his lawyer, Richard Bodle, said.

The maximum penalty would have been five years' jail or a $50,000 fine, but Howland, who was a first offender, received home detention and compulsory counselling sessions because he was not involved in the "production, purchase or distribution of images".

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