Sex offender, 72, who downloaded indecent images of children breached court order intended to stop him offending again
A 72-year-old man who downloaded indecent images of children breached an order aimed at preventing him from offending again.
Paul Robson, formerly of Hartlepool, was convicted of possessing child porn images in 2011.
He was back before Teesside Crown Court after police caught him with software on his computer that could be used to disguise internet history.
“As part of the sentence for the indecent images Robson was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order,” said Emma Atkinson, prosecuting.
“Police made a routine check on his house last March.
“They found two items of software on a computer which were in breach of the order.
“The software was capable of erasing internet history automatically, although it was not set to do that.”
Ms Atkinson said the software had been used to delete 11,000 files.
“We don’t know what they are,” she added.
“I’ve seen Mr Robson’s pre-sentence report, and there seems to be an attempt at minimising this offending.
“The prosecution say he is more IT literate than he seems willing to admit.”
Robson, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough, admitted two charges of breach of a sexual harm prevention order.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
Andrew Strannex, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Robson said in his police interview he thought the software could be used to clean up his computer.
“Your honour may have heard the word ‘defragging’.
“Mr Robson is so keen to distance himself from this offending that he has destroyed the computer involved.
“His man focus in life is the care of his adult son, and his responsibilities to wife, although she no longer lives with him.
“There has been no other offending since the original conviction seven years ago.”
Judge Howard Crowson sentenced Robson to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, including 20 rehabilitation activity days.
The judge told him: “You installed software on your computer which made it difficult for the police to check on your internet activity.
“There is bound to be suspicions about the nature of the deleted files.
“I’m not convinced your age makes you no longer a threat, you are only 72 which is not that old.
“There are members of the judiciary still working full time at that age.”