Hartlepool pervert blamed lockdown for downloading over 25,000 child abuse pictures

A pervert blamed the effects of the first lockdown for downloading more than 25,000 indecent pictures of children from the internet.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:22 pm

Francis Black, who spent five years on the sex offenders’ register for the same offence in 2013, was reported to police after his shocked partner discovered some of the images on his mobile phone.

Emma Hughes, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “On April 20, 2020, the police received a telephone call from the defendant’s girlfriend.

"She stated that she and her boyfriend were at her home address where she had been using his mobile telephone and had discovered what she described as explicit content.

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Black systematically searched the internet for indecent images the court heard.

"She was aware of the defendant’s previous convictions in 2013 and alerted the police.”

Police seized his phone and a computer from his home and found 58 pictures showing the worst kind of child abuse, 68 in the next category and 25,067 in the least serious Category C.

Ms Hughes said children as young as five featured in the most serious images and some showed victims in obvious pain and distress.

She added the case was aggravated by the large number of images, a number of which Black had downloaded in bulk, after “systematically searching” the internet.

The case was dealt with by Teesside Crown Court.

The 61-year-old, who worked for a local recycling firm, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and he was jailed for 15 months.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said despite reporting him to the police, Black’s partner attended court to support him.

Referring to Black’s 2013 conviction he said: “He entered a rather dark place following the breakdown of his marriage.”

Mr Scarborough added: “He found himself in a similar position following effectively the first lockdown. This offence being discovered some four weeks after that.

"He thought he was in meltdown. His mind was all over. He was suffering from depression.”

The judge, Recorder David Gordon, said it was not a victimless crime and encouraged the market for such images.

He added: “It was hard for everybody during the worst part of the lockdown.

"Not everybody resorted to crime and certainly very few people I imagine resorted because of the lockdown to downloading disgusting sexual imagery of children from the internet.”

Black, of Cameron Road, Hartlepool, will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

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